Some people love running in the snow. Some people can’t stand it. Some people have never tried so they really don’t have an opinion either way. I, being one of those who love to run in the snow, would like to offer a few tips to those considering it.
The first tip I have is to let go of your speed expectations. The snow will slow you down. It really doesn’t matter how fit or fast you are. If you expect to run at a particular pace on pavement or dry and clear trail- expect that same run to be slower when there is snow on the route. I really do find properly managed expectations to be helpful for multiple reasons.
The second is pay attention to balance. One of the reasons your snow runs will be slower is that you need to stay on your feet and not fall flat on your face. This may remove some otherwise normal ranges of motion and affect your gait as you strive not to superman going downhill on your run. You may take shorter steps. You may find the increased need for kinesthetic awareness feels like learning a new skill set. Try and stay on your feet and don’t feel bad about having to hike and walk sections!
The third tip is to try some traction devices over your shoes. Depending on the depth and nature of the snow, presence or lack of ice, and how steep or mellow the terrain is you may see real benefits to different traction devices while out on your snowy run. Of course, if you have any questions please feel free to call or stop into one of our stores. I know I would personally be more than happy to talk your ear off about all things gear related.
The fourth is to not overdress for the occasion. It is certainly ok if you do so at the beginning but you may be surprised to find that just because your route is now snowed-in does not actually mean you need to dress in such a way that people mistake you for the Michelin Man. Still, people are different- metabolism, muscle mass, circulation, breathing- all these things can affect how you end up dressing to go out for a run in the cold. Do not feel like you need to wear exactly what some of your other friends wear- but just know it is normal for people to overdress when they start running in the cold.
My fifth tip is to consider some type of gaiter. For those of you who are not familiar gaiters in this context are pieces of clothing that cover the interface between your shoes and pants or tights. Gaiters can keep snow from rushing in around your ankles. Even if my feet end up wet at the end of a snowy run (from melting snow) I am still usually happier to have worn gaiters around my ankles. Consider it a pro-tip that you can take or leave at your own discretion.
Running in the snow may seem unusual to many of us but just consider this: you are part of nature, not a different kind of thing that exists outside of it. Whether you find ways to adapt yourself to the changing conditions or you find cool technological tricks and aides to make it more manageable I think many of you will be surprised at how enjoyable it is to go outside and run in the snow- oh, and a lot of you who have dogs will not have trouble convincing them to go with you too!