Thursday, December 18, 2008

'Tis the Season to Share the Road

It snowed about three inches in Southern Maine yesterday, and unlike the "first snow" a couple weeks ago, this blanketing gives the impression it's here to stay. This means road running gets even trickier than the normal game of dodge-traffic.

Here are a few strategies I use since I prefer to run outdoors through the winter:
  1. Run on the left side of the road facing traffic. We simply need to follow pedestrian traffic rules, and this is so much safer than not seeing what is coming up behind you. If you approach a blind curve, however, and have no shoulder in the road you might need to cross over to safely make it around the turn.
  2. Watch your footing. I know this sounds silly, but you need to practice a different kind of running in snow and ice. You'll want to find dry stretches when available. The requires keeping your eye on the road and the oncoming traffic. You might need to shorten your stride considerably. Be confident, it is possible to run safely in the snow. And be patient with the inconsistency and lack of fluidity with your run. It's not going to be perfect but you're outside in the fresh air!
  3. Thank the motorists who give way. I really appreciate it when a car moves over to the other lane. There's nothing more unpleasant than a driver trying to play pickle with you when you're being a good pedestrian. So when they give it up, I give them a wave.
  4. Share the road. We need to do our part by staying as far left as possible. Try not to be to self-righteous about your pedestrian rights when we're all dealing with the inconveniences of snow and ice.
  5. Enjoy the scenery. I know I said you have to watch the road and traffic, but take a minute to notice the beauty of the winter landscape. If you're in a rural area it's easy; and if you're in a more urban area, try to notice the lights and seasonal decor. People put a lot of time into decorating their homes and businesses. Enjoy it!

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