Utah is known for their gorgeous mountains, greatest snow on earth, but also the worst air quality? This winter weather inversion is the worst, but how bad is it? And really, is it that bad to be running in? Let me tell you what I’ve found.
According to the 2017 Utah Winter Fine Particulate Study The urban air basins along Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, a region with 2.4 million residents, experience some of the most severe particulate matter (PM) air pollution in the Nation. Particulate matter concentrations in Salt Lake City exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standard on average 18 days out of the year.
So why does it get so bad here in the Salt Lake Valley? Along the Wasatch Front, the mountains act like a bowl. That bowl collects a mixture of particles and volatile organic compounds. The mixture acts like a chemistry soup, cooked by sunlight, creating particles that cloud the air and cause breathing problems. You know it’s bad when you walk outside you feel the air—and it’s not a good feeling.
Running outside isn’t my favorite, but being on a treadmill for hours isn’t any better. But I read, “active adults who exercise outdoors face an increased risk from fine particulates because PM2.5 penetrates deeper into the parts of the lungs that are more vulnerable to injury.” You really would have no way of stopping this from happening.
I get that running outside is ideal, especially for training. But when you have air conditions like we have here treadmills are your best option. For me, I just throw on my headphones, turn on the treadmill and set a goal for how far I want to run.
At the end of the day, I just want to get miles in. I should not have to worry about the weather outside literally being frightful. The inversion will go, but until that day I will probably just be running inside.