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running on ice

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I live in a city and do most of my running on sidewalks. But, the sidewalks in my neighborhood have been coated in ice for weeks now, so I haven't ran in a couple weeks - walking on them has been tricky enough! The actual roads aren't an option either, since the shoulders are covered in ice too.

I didn't mind in the beginning, but I'm starting to get a bit antsy. Philadelphia isn't all that cold, but we are having a lot of storms, and every time the sidewalks start to melt it refreezes even slicker than before. If I have to wait until March to run again, so be it, but I would love to get outside a bit sooner.

So, is there a safe way for me to run outside without slipping? Special gear, maybe? I've heard that YakTrax are good for walking on ice, but what about running? What do you all do when your running route gets too slippery?

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Yaktrax have a low profile, are fine for running. Kahtoola microspikes are more substantial and are good for deeper snow, or if there is dirt under the snow. I don't recommend them for thin ice on paved roads.

This months TrailRunner magazine (maybe last month) has a review article on the various brands, and it might still be on the shelf. Something I haven't tried, but that is discussed a lot in that article, is using special screws that screw right into the sole of your running shoe. That looks interesting, because it would be so light.

edit/add links:

my wife, using Yaktrax:

my Microspikes.


Yep!  I run with trax outside.  Haven't had any problems as of yet, but I do keep it to a moderate speed (not that I'm all that fast to begin with).  Stop gently too (so they don't pop off).

Wow, OGR. Your Microspikes remind me of tire chains, but for running shoes! And I agree that they don't look too pavement friendly. I recently saw an article about screw spikes too which was intriguing, but I don't have a spare pair running shoes to play around with at the moment :)

nicolejs, thanks for the tip. I'm not too fast either, but I do like to go all out now and then. Maybe I'll just have to do my sprints on the clear patches!

Anyway, right now it looks like Yaktrax are in the lead. Has anyone tried Stabilicers or GripOns?

When I run with proper form(what I understand it to be anyway) ice isn't a problem. Keeping a high turnover and landing under my center of gravity seems to keep me from slipping and losing balance.

I find walking on ice much harder, unless wearing good boots and/or Yak trax.

I know it's not quite the same, but is it possible to do like a 1 month membership at the YMCA? Then you could run on an indoor track or treadmill...

I know my Y has trial passes for a month that are under $30.

@bmx419 - you must be much less clumsy than me, haha!

@joiedeviv - thanks for the suggestion - it makes a lot of sense, but I have an irrational hatred of tracks and treadmills - I need to feel like I'm going somewhere, ya know? ;) I run more for fun than for fitness at this point, so I'll probably either get some YakTrax or just wait until things thaw a bit more.

6 Replies