Winter Running in the Snow – a few tips

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When I woke up to several inches of wet snow on the ground this morning, I have to admit that I thought twice about going running … Bob and Alyssa and I decided to brave it anyway and headed out to Bent Creek/Pisgah Forest.

In training for running my pain-free half marathon, today’s LSD running session was supposed to be 9 miles, but I think we did closer to 6. I figure it’s okay; we ended up battling 6″ of snow in some places, which was really fun but definitely challenging with the extra resistance.

At one point, Alyssa said, “This is like we brought our 5-year-old selves along!” She was right. We were laughing and throwing snow at each other and huffing our way up the mountain, running gleefully down the hills.

I don’t have any super great winter running shoes, so I just wore my normal ankle running socks and pulled on blue plastic bags over my feet and tucked the ends up into my tights before putting on my running shoes. It worked really well; only until the last mile or so did the bags loosen up and scoot down, revealing my skin and socks to the elements, but for the bulk of the running session, I was just fine in my regular NB 560 trail runners and a normal pair of socks. The several inches of soft, wet snow definitely helped make the trail less slippery; if I get serious about running on trails in the dead of winter, I am going to have to invest in a pair with more grip.

The snowy ground added a level of resistance to a consistently uphill first portion of the run, which really put me in my place. I was really wanting to run up the whole hill and not walk at all. I just wanted to keep running, so it encouraged me to stay slow and easy, not overdoing it or getting over excited. I had a moment of major relaxation when we got to the first flat/downhill portion and I just let myself open up and glide down the trail. I was conscious about not using my legs to get me up the hill, but rather momentum and my arm swing.

It’s been about 5 hours since we finished, and legs have yet to show symptoms of wear. What a great feeling! The principle of the ChiRunning technique help me so much running in any conditions, but especially on challenging, mind-using terrain. The best part is that I never feel badly or tanked after running. Sometimes I get tired during the run, but afterward, once it’s all over and I have maintained good running form, I am always elated at how good I feel.

Today was the very definition of winter running, in my mind; snow, quiet, stillness, friends, sweat, heartbeats and smiles. Thanks to my running buddies for making it a great morning and for the trails of Asheville for being so friendly and beckoning.

Posted in Technique

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