Fitness How to stay upright in treacherous weather
Winter weather presents hazards underfoot. Here’s how to stay safe
‘On unstable terrain such as mud or snow, shorten your stride and increase your cadence so if you slip or slide, your next foot placement follows quickly to help you regain balance,’ says trail runner Tracy Dean, winner of the 2016 Scafell Pike Trail Marathon. ‘Keep your feet lower to the ground if it’s snowy or icy – for better stability,’ adds running coach Jenny Hadfield.
The right shoe will help you cope with winter terrain. ‘For mud, you want deep, pointy multidirectional lugs on the outsole that maximise grip and don’t clog,’ says elite fell runner Ben Mounsey. A traction device such as Yak Trax (from £15, blacks.co.uk) can help you stay upright on snow and ice.
Woken up to a winter wonderland? ‘Fresh snow is better for traction than packed snow,’ says Hadfield. If it’s muddy, run early in the day, when trails will be firmer. ‘Don’t be afraid to run through puddles,’ adds Dean. ‘Avoiding them can cause you to change direction suddenly, which may result in a face plant. If the puddle surface is frozen, place your foot on cracked rather than glassy areas, for grip.’ Assume wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery. Dew or water vapour can freeze on cold surfaces forming a thin, near-invisible layer of ice. Take care on bridges or walkways, where cold air above and below the surface mean ice is more likely to form.
GROUND CONTROL Tough conditions are no excuse to put your feet up