Despite the cold and record snowfall, many runners in Minnesota are gearing up for what they say is some of the best running of the year.

With snow also comes a slower pace and relaxed goals for some, who opt to brave the bitter cold for their daily run.

"When running outside it's not about the speed," said marathon runner Arika Hage, 34, of Lakeville. "I don't think people are going to break any records, it's just worth it to be outside in Minnesota and fun to say you were out running in the winter storm of 2010."

Whether you decide to brave winter's chill or move your run indoors, here's some advice from those in the know:


If you're going to pass on overcrowded gyms for the snowy trails, here are some essentials you won't want to forget before you brave the cold.

Don't sweat it. Wear light layers instead of one big jacket, otherwise those pesky beads of sweat will become little icicles decorating your face.

The wonderful world of wool. Avoid cotton or synthetic socks. Wool will continue to insulate your feet even if they get a little wet.

Keep your water bottle "close to the chest." The frigid air will dry out your throat, but it will also freeze your water. To avoid lugging ice on your run, keep your water bottle strapped under a couple of your layers.

Avoid frostbite while keeping that ski mask buried in your closet. Cut up small pieces of waterproof tape and assemble them on the most sensitive parts of your face.

Don't be afraid of the dark. Wear reflective gear to avoid any close calls with oncoming traffic. Just because you see them doesn't mean they see you.

With extra layers comes extra chafing. Apply anti-chafing gel to any part of your body that will rub against your clothes. "When you're wearing all these clothes, you will find spots that chafe that you never thought would," said Ultra-marathon runner Ryan Carter, 34, of Minneapolis.

Get a grip. Ice skating can be exhilarating in Minnesota, but not while you're running. Pick up some traction devices, such as shoe spikes or YakTrax, a durable stretch rubber frame covered with stainless steel coils that slip over the bottom of your shoes.

Be sensible. Carry some money and phone numbers of someone who can pick you up in case of an emergency.


Sure, you can jump on a treadmill, but there are other options for warm, indoor running.

Around and around. Many health clubs have small, indoor tracks. And the Metrodome may be covered in snow -- inside and out -- but its concourse is a prime spot for indoor running. The concourse is closed because of the roof collapse, but the Minnesota Distance Running Association expects it will be back in operation early this month. The association sponsors running around the concourse from 5 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday through the winter for just $1. It's roughly 3/8 of a mile around and the perfect atmosphere if you're looking for a faster change of pace during the long winter months.

A treadmill has its challenges. If you choose to stick with the treadmill, make sure to be mentally prepared. One of the biggest obstacles for treadmill runners is monotony. Come ready with a structured workout like running a hill workout and then switching to a speed workout.

Carter's advice: "Structure your workout or [the treadmill] will zap your mind."

Hannah Gruber is a Twin Cities freelance writer.