What you should know before running in the winter

Five tips all runners, new or experienced, should follow before braving the cold and dangerous weather of the winter months.


While some Halifax citizens are complaining about the icy sidewalks, many runners maintain their physical activity despite sidewalk conditions.

For some runners, the winter months become daunting. They turn to crowded gyms and at home workouts in order to continue staying in shape during the winter. However, while snow and ice pose a threat to running outside, it is still possible to tackle those obstacles without changing your routine to fit the weather.

1. Running for beginners

According to Running Room, someone who is new to running should start slow. The first few times they go outside they should start by fast-walking. This allows for the new runner to build up their endurance.

Instead of going out and running as fast as you can for as long as you can, which could result in injury if the runner pushes themselves too far, it is much safer to start slow.

The best thing to do is to gradually increase the ratio of walking to running each time. It is best to start by walking for two minutes and running for one minute, then the next day, walk two minutes and run two minutes – always increasing the time and distance.

According to Andrew Moser, a student at the University of King’s College and avid runner all year around, joggers should also do specific exercises to increase the strength in your ankles.

Moser’s mother is a physiotherapist who taught him most of what he knows about muscles and how they help with running – especially on slippery and icy sidewalks.

“She would always talk about stabilizers, which are basically muscles that do the correcting for you when you are trying to balance [on the ice],” says Moser. “Already being a good runner helps, but you can start on the treadmill, or do simple balancing exercises like standing on one foot to strengthen your ankles.”

2. Thinking about tackling the ice?

After training to become a stronger runner and building up endurance, runners might be tempted to run outside all year around. However, before doing so, the runner must know a few tips for making sure they do not fall on the ice.

According to Moser, anyone who is planning to run during the winter months should:

  1. Pay attention to where you are running. If you see any shiny patches, chances are it is ice and you should slow down and shorten your stride.
  2. When turning corners, you should also slow down and shorten your stride so that you do not lose your balance.

According to Running Room runners may also feel soreness after running in the snow and ice. This is because your stabilizers are working harder to keep you from slipping.

3. Clothing

Moser thinks that there is a lot of value in getting athletic gear that is more expensive because it will last a few years, and you know what you are buying is good quality. He recognizes that not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on running gear, and suggests that anyone can buy leggings or sweat pants from Winners.

Moser also acknowledges that it is best for new runners who are not sure how much they will be running, or if they will stick with it, to look for cheaper versions of athletic clothing at places like Winners. As they become more committed, it can be justified to spend more money on longer lasting gear.

Running Room suggests that runners who will be running in the colder months cover up any exposed skin like: your neck, hands, faces and heads. You can do this with scarves, hats, gloves and ski-masks.

Running Room also suggests that, because days in the winter months are shorter and it gets dark much faster, a runner should make sure that they wear bright clothing or running gear with reflective stripes so that drivers will be able to see them in the dark.

4. Tips for running in the cold

According to Running Competitor, it is best to start off your run by running into the wind, then half way through the run you should switch it up and run with the wind at your back. Running Competitor explains that if you run with the wind at your back first, you will work up a sweat. Then when you change direction, the cold wind against your face will cause sweat to freeze.

Running Competitor also suggests that runners use Vaseline on any exposed skin that cannot be covered. Vaseline has waterproof and windproof properties that will protect your skin from frostbite

They also stress the importance on keeping hydrated during and after a run because you sweat just as much while running in the winter as you do in the warmer months – even if it does not feel that way.

Moser also suggests that any runner, experienced or new, should definitely take it easy on hills. Although the hills make for a great workout, they can become very dangerous during the winter months when they are covered in ice, snow or slush. He says that it is better to run slow and keep your balance, than to run fast and hurt yourself.

5. Alternatives

Moser says his girlfriend is starting to get into running as well, but she’s not experienced enough to go out and tackle the snow, ice and slush that covers the ground. Instead, during the winter months, she likes to go on Youtube and look up workout videos which are posted by fitness gurus.

Some alternatives to running in the winter are:

  1. Going to the gym
  2. Walking
  3. Yoga/ Hot Yoga
  4. Fitness classes
  5. Online workout videos

Halifax News Digest: March 14-16

Catch up on happenings on the Halifax peninsula, as reported by other news outlets.

Halifax protesters take aim at federal government’s anti-terrorism law (Metro Halifax)

Krista Simon organized a protest against the federal government’s proposed C-51 law, and she hopes that the protest will create a “national dialogue against Bill C-51.” Bill C-51, also known as the “anti-terrorism act” will give police even more power, and allow for the detainment of terror suspects, as well as give more power to Canada’s spy agency. There were many other rallies taking place on Saturday in places such as: Toronto, Montreal, Saskatoon and Calgary. These protests were called “Defend our Freedom.”

‘Fast and furious:’ Sunday’s storm one of the worst to hit Halifax this winter (The Metro)

Darin Borgel, a meteorologist for Environment Canada, says that Sunday’s winter storm was “one of the worst the city has experienced this season.” The storm, which began late Saturday evening, dumped between 12 to 35 centimetres of snow. Some flights were cancelled or delayed. Halifax Transit buses were put on a snow plan as a result of the storm. Environment Canada predicts another weather system that is headed straight for the province.

Dentistry student Millet agrees to remediation process (The Chronicle Herald)

Ryan Millet, the self-professed whistleblower of the misogynist Facebook group, is agreeing to take part in a remediation process in order to educate himself on the subjects of misogyny, sexism and homophobia. Those subjects were common among many of the Facebook posts in the group Class of DDS 2015 Gentlemen. Millet’s single action of blowing the whistle was determined “not enough” by Dalhousie’s academic standards class committee.

Air Passenger advocate launches constitutional challenge (CTV News)

In Gabor Lukacs’ recent battle with the Canadian airline industry, the 32-year-old is challenging the operations agency. He claims that the airline refused to disclose evidence of passenger complaints – which is a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Lukacs says that his advocacy is “less about his personal experiences and more about seeing an area where he feels he can make a positive change for Canada.”

Canadians now reach out to Lukacs with their transportation frustrations, and he often gives them advice on how to handle situations.

Halifax police officer cleared of wrongdoing after woman breaks arm in custody (CTV News)

After reviewing hospital surveillance footage of an incident involving a Halifax police officer and a 51-year-old woman that resulted in the woman breaking her arm while in custody, the police watchdog report confirms that the officers actions were reasonable and no charges will be laid. The woman was arrested in August 2014 after she was found yelling and screaming in a parking lot at the Dartmouth Crossing shopping area. The woman was taken to a Halifax hospital after the arrest, where she would wait to undergo a psychiatric assessment. However, while waiting, the woman became very upset and the police officer who stayed with her at the hospital was forced to use handcuffs on her, resulting in the woman breaking her arm.

Costco Canada’s fish import licence suspended (The Chronicle Herald)

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says that Costco Canada is in violation of federal fish inspection regulations. However, there is no specific product recall as a result of the suspension. The suspension came as a result of Costco Canada implementing inadequate control of food safety. The company will not be allowed to import fish into Canada until appropriate action is taken and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is satisfied with the changes. Costco Canada’s suspension of fish imports went into effect on Feb. 26.


Shanti Hot Yoga brings third studio to Halifax

Shanti Hot Yoga will be opening a studio on Spring Garden Road in July.

Shanti Hot Yoga is preparing to open its third studio in Halifax in July, and its first on the peninsula.

Shanti Hot Yoga first opened its doors in Dartmouth, N.S. in 2010. As it gained popularity, Don MacGillivary and his wife Uriel decided to open another studio in Bedford, N.S. in 2013. Now they are getting ready to open their third studio which will be located on Spring Garden road beside Lululemon.

MacGillivary says he and his wife decided to open their third studio so they could reach all demographics in the downtown area.

“Whether it’s a student who lives in Dartmouth and goes to school in Halifax, or the person in the workforce who lives in suburbia but works in the downtown core, it allows for a lot more flexibility,” said MacGillivary.

The new studio in Halifax will be smaller than the current studios, which means Don and his wife are considering cutting out pre-natal classes, as well as the mother and baby classes. The classes will still be offered at both their other locations.

Teaching positions for the new Halifax location will first be offered to staff currently working for Shanti Hot Yoga who are willing to take on more classes. However, MacGillivary expects the Halifax studio to be the busiest of the three and they will have to hire more teachers.

A Vinyasa class being held in the hot room at Shanti Hot Yoga's Dartmouth, N.S. studio. (photo: Katie Preeper)
A Vinyasa class being held in the hot room at Shanti Hot Yoga’s Dartmouth, N.S. studio. (Photo: Katie Preeper)

Shanti Hot Yoga’s Halifax studio will be located beside Lululemon and Serpentine studios.

“Ultimately, I think the effect of Shanti Hot Yoga opening another studio on Spring Garden will result in greater accessibility of yoga to those in the downtown core. The more people doing yoga, the better,” said Diana Brown, studio manager at Moksha Yoga Halifax, located off Spring Garden road.

Laura Selenzi, co-founder of Serpentine Studios, also welcomes Shanti.

“I have heard good things about Shanti,” said Selenzi. “It is our philosophy that there is more than enough to go around, and that each student will find the right place for them.”

Jan Zwicky gives 4th annual Alex Fountain Memorial Lecture

Jan Zwicky gives a lecture titled “What Meaning is and Why it Matters” for the fourth annual Alex Fountain Memorial Lecture held at the University of King’s College.

Jan Zwicky says that sometimes aspects of our lives that should have meaning, such as arts and education, often become meaningless or lose their worth because the arts are disregarded as merely entertainment and education is simply used as a means to get a job.

That was the central theme of Zwicky’s talk at the Alex Fountain Memorial Lecture. A philosopher and musician by nature, Zwicky attempts to convince her audience of the importance of these things so that they do not lose meaning in our everyday lives. Things like the arts and education should not be disregarded. The fourth annual lecture took place at the University of King’s College in Halifax this past Thursday.

Her lecture, titled What Meaning is and Why it Matters, urges her audience to realize that they have been neglecting things that should be meaningful.

Jan Zwicky gives a lecture about meaning at the University of King's College. (Photo taken by Katie Preeper)
The Alumni lecture hall at the University of King’s College. (Photo taken by Katie Preeper)

“Our experience of meaning shows that it is not fundamentally linguistic, either in structure or in content. More surprising yet, the intellectual capacity has evolved and the experience of meaning can be disrupted if we try to analyze or try to describe them,” she said.

Zwicky acknowledged that the topic of meaning and why it matters is a big topic to tackle. This confession brought about laughter from the audience.

During her lecture she got people to hum along to the song Yesterday by the Beatles. Zwicky used this as a way to show how easy it is to overlook things in our daily lives. Although we cannot name the actual notes, Zwicky points out that we are still able to hum along with the song accurately.

Using Rubin’s Vase as an example, Zwicky explains that if you focus on the white vase-like shape in the middle, the silhouettes of the two faces on either side disappear into the black background, but if you focus on the two silhouettes, the white vase disappears. However, you can never see both at the same time. Zwicky uses Rubin’s Vase as a way to prove to the audience that there is more than one way to see the world.

The lecture is named after Alex Fountain, a King’s student who passed away in 2009 after battling depression.

Zwicky was nominated by students to give the lecture this year.

“We know that it is Dr. Zwicky’s diverse accomplishments that inform her work in a manner that is fundamentally interdisciplinary and that is why we are so lucky to have her at King’s,” said Michaela Sam, executive president of the King’s student union.

Jan Zwicky signs a copy of one of her books for a fan. (Photo taken by Katie Preeper)
Jan Zwicky signs a copy of one of her books for a fan. (Photo: Katie Preeper)

Sarah Knowles: Musher, volunteer and dog lover

Sarah Knowles loves her dogs and helping people. That’s why she’s a member of HRM Urban Mushing and wants to help at-risk youth with animal therapy.

On a frigid Wednesday evening, after the sun has set and the sky is dark, Sarah Knowles and her team of mushers meet at the very end of Perrin Drive in Fall River, N.S.

The only light comes from the headlamps on each of the mushers and the headlights of cars that are still running.

Each musher clips a belt around their waist and then attaches a gang-line from the hook of the belt to the harness of the dog or dogs who are a part of their team.

They venture onto a trail while the dogs howl in excitement.

Knowles and her brother Corey are the organizers of HRM Urban Mushing. Corey got a taste for mushing in 2010 when he went to Vancouver for the Olympics and took a sled tour. When he returned, he introduced his sister to mushing.

When HRM Urban Mushing started, Knowles did not own any dogs. She now has three. There is Sage who is a husky and labrador retriever mix, Heidi a golden retriever and Koda who is a pure husky. All three dogs are rescues.

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Knowles says there are about 70 people in the Facebook group, though there are others involved outside of that. Knowles says that there are roughly 100 dogs who are a part of the team.

“From there it grew, and the more research we did the more experience we got and we started to learn that we didn’t have to use sleds, we use scooters and we do canicross when there isn’t snow.”

Canicross is how mushers continue to train when there isn’t any snow. It is the practice of running or fast-paced walking while a dog, or team of dogs are attached to a harness and a belt around the musher’s waist. However, there are specially made scooters for this sport as well, which require the musher to attach the gang-line to the scooter.

Knowles and her brother have concerns for the well being of their dogs and offer seminars, which members of the mushing team must attend in order to learn about their dogs’ nutrition, the right way to mush and how to check for injuries on their dogs after a run.

Although Knowles and her mushing team like to run their dogs at night, they have never had a wild animal pose a threat to the team.

“It’s because they are an established pack. No animal would dare threaten them because they would fight and protect each other and us, just like a pack would,” says her brother, Corey.

Knowles and her team do mushing and canicross almost all year around, except for the summer.

“I can run Sage, who is a husky and lab mix and Heidi who is a golden [retriever] and the heat doesn’t bother them as much as it would Koda, who is a husky. So, Sage and Heidi get out much more than Koda does. But the runs are still very short and very quick, 10 minutes tops,” she says.

In the summer, Knowles likes to get creative when it comes to keeping her dogs active, this includes finding ways to burn off their energy, while still keeping them cool in the heat. Knowles especially likes to take her dogs to the beach, and explains how Koda is a big fan, because huskies tend to love the beach because of the cool temperature and winds.

“If I miss more than one day [of exercise], I’ll have a mutiny on my hands,” Knowles says.

Dog therapy

On top of organizing a mushing team, Knowles and her dogs also volunteer for St. John’s Ambulance dog therapy. Heidi works with children, while Sage and Koda work more with adults. Although, Sage will be testing to work with children soon.

“Heidi can sense people. In the testing she went over to this little boy who recoiled a little bit, so for the rest of the testing she would let him come to her,” Knowles says.

“When it came to the point where the kids lined up and would come over and pet her, for all of the kids she would take a step forward and wag her tail, but when it came time for that little boy, Heidi sat down and looked the other way and let the little boy come to her instead.”

Knowles knew that she wanted to get involved with an animal therapy program even before she owned any dogs. As soon as she got her dogs, she signed them up right away.

“Animals don’t judge you, they don’t care what you look like or what you’ve done and they have respect for you,” she says.

Knowles is two years into her social work degree at Dalhousie University, but has since put that on pause to figure out a better route for achieving her goals. She wants to help people feel like they are a part of a group by getting them involved with animals and with her mushing group.

Knowles wants to mix helping people with animals by getting a farm where at-risk youth can help out, to help keep them busy and allow for therapy when they interact with the animals.

“My goal is to have a small hobby farm. I’ve kind of taken a break from school to see if there is an alternate way of achieving that goal. The biggest thing I’ve found is that kids get in trouble when they are bored,” Knowles says. “To see kids interact with the dogs, you can see the pride that they have for being an equal.”

Knowles also does shift work, working with adults with disabilities and going to their homes. She helps with supper, to get them ready for bed, and she takes them out to the movies. Knowles explains that the people she works with are “genuine and trusting people.”

“I love working with people, helping people to reach their full potential and to live to the highest capacity or help them reach their goals, whether it be taking a trip somewhere or getting a job at Superstore.”