Chicago is currently in a [record] 290 day stretch of no snow but that is about to end today. Starting this afternoon, we have a winter storm warning issued until early tomorrow morning. We are expected to have high winds, ice, and snow [although not as much as other states in the Midwest!]. I’m not a big fan of snow, unless it comes on Christmas Eve and leaves the day after Christmas, but I know a lot of people have been waiting for snow for quite a while.

While I’m definitely an outdoor runner, once my early morning runs are full of snow and ice, I start to debate whether or not it would be safer for me to spend my mornings at my gym on a treadmill.

Generally, I run outside if it’s over 15 degrees (I also consider the windchill), not icy, and we’re not experiencing a blizzard (I did this once and it was miserable). On the weekends, I try to run later in the morning to allow people time to shovel the sidewalks and plow the streets. I also tend to run through the city more and less on the lakeshore path because the city sidewalks are more likely to be clear. Most importantly, I adjust my expectations given the weather. If it’s not too icy but there is lots of snow, I’ll head out running with a goal of getting in the mileage at whatever pace is feasible. There’s no need to get frustrated over speed when it’s completely outside of your control.

Deciding whether to run on the treadmill or brave the outdoors can be a tough call and while slipping on the icy lakeshore path is not fun, neither is becoming injured from running and striding differently on a treadmill.

So what do you do when it starts to get snowy? Run on the treadmill or run outdoors?