Snow, Ice and Chi: Winter Running Tips for the Great White North

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For those of us in northern climates, winters with cold, snow and ice are facts of life. Nothing against my surfing ChiRunning buddies, but northerners know that our winters make us tough. They can also make us better Chi Runners.

I’ve come up with a few examples of how ChiRunning in the great white north is not only possible but can improve your running technique.

  • You’ve probably read in the ChiRunning book that one way to practice running lightly is to pretend that you are running on ice. We don’t have to pretend. Running on ice constantly reminds you to keep your feet under your column. If you don’t, you’ll pay the price with a nasty fall.
  • The book also mentions using the sand pit test to examine your footprints and flesh out any flaws in your foot-strike. Again, advantage north. Fresh snow works just as good, and you can find it right outside your door. Try being the first on your block to run down your sidewalk, then double back for a peek at your footsteps. Don’t like what you see? Practice until the next snowfall, then check it out again.
  • Running in snow and ice forces you to use a shorter stride. Power running just doesn’t work. It’s a great chance to practice your cadence using your metronome. Keeping your feet moving 85-90 strides per minute will help prevent the slogging that can easily occur if you’re not careful.
  • Finally, winter is a great time to practice your arm swing. You’ll appreciate the extra warmth you generate by keeping your arms in motion. You legs will love the rhythm-boost too.

People Chi Runnning in warmer climates may be jealous of our northern advantages. I’m sure you’ll find airfares quite reasonable to visit your favorite ‘coldspot.’ Right now I’m training for the Frigid 5 on February 7 in St. Paul. Chi Runners from all climates are welcome to come and test their running technique!

Posted in Beginners

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