There is something magical about kissing on a dark, cold winter morning on the snow. But it's less magical when you find yourself on your butt because you didn't realize there was ice or you're wearing the wrong shoes.
As a morning runner my first thought is usually how many diapers do I need? But after a freezing night or a snowstorm, I'm looking for ice… mostly black ice.
Is it safe to run in the snow?
Absolutely with the right gear and the right attitude. Running can be really fun when you admit it won't be the same as strenuous exercise on a sunny spring day.
Running on the snow
When it comes to snow running shoes, you might be surprised to find that your trail running shoes are the perfect fit. Until you start to get into potentially freezing conditions, they'll provide enough traction and are often waterproof too!
Some additional tips:
- Check out these best trail running shoes
- Be more careful than a summer race
- Don't go for all the hard sprints and workouts in the snow
- Aim for cool trails where you are less likely to encounter black ice
- Switch to the treadmill if it needs to be so deep that it will impact your workout
Change the time of your race
Now is not the time for strides and sprints, but rather remember that slowing down or turning corners is more difficult, so you will need to slow down. It's time to be careful, not to set personal bests, unless they are personal bests on snow.
- Plan for run on an early morning run so you can use the sun to spot the ice and possibly warm it up to at least slush
- If you can aim for lightly shoveled snow, you will often find more traction
- Wearing something like the Oakley Prizm lens can help make the ice more visible due to the contrast it provides
- Early morning runners always take a headlamp, instead of relying on streetlights
- Understand how black ice forms to be vigilant
"The peak hours for the development of this ice are around dawn and late evening, when temperatures are generally lowest. Ground temperature freezes precipitation on impact, creating ice."- Accuweather
Embrace the trails
Because the trails haven't been dug, you're more likely to find snow than ice in most places, which means better traction and less chance of slipping.
Running in fresh snow means a bit more work because it's softer. Treat it like run on the beach and keep your run shorter, knowing that it will engage new muscles.When the trail has started to get compact, any of the spikes listed below or trail shoes will give you better traction than on a smooth sidewalk.
Trails can also be a good option to just remind you to relax and enjoy the run.
Winter race is usually a basic build time, so embrace the obstacle as a way to improve your preconception and enjoy a few easier miles.
Will running on snow make you faster?
After telling yourself not to do your speed sessions in the snow, you might assume not. But just like running on the beach, you're going to be engaging a lot of new muscles and having to think about getting on your feet, so that could very well lead to stronger leg muscles and therefore a faster run.
What to wear for running in the snow?
Depending on the day, you might find that long sleeves and tights are plentiful! This is what makes Colorado winters so crazy. Other days it feels like you're full in winter, in which case:
The second part of the snow race is being prepared for the idea that you might find some ice.
Top tips for running on ice
Beyond not falling, what can actually help you get through a run on ice while still standing? Let's face it, I can trip over a perfectly flat, clear sidewalk, so I had to do some research and reach out to more experienced winter runners.
But I can now vouch for these techniques!
Do not do that
Well seriously we know the risk potential is higher so if you can find a clear path take it.
- Know in advance which sides of the road melt faster and which refreeze. Around our neighborhood, some plots are perpetually in the shade, so running across the road can mean avoiding having to slide past someone's house.
- Consider the treadmill. I know many of you despise him, but find out all the ways it can actually improve your run and good a morning on the treadmill that eliminates an injury is worth it in the long run.
Be a little type A
It sounds silly, but just like trail running, you won't feel more comfortable with the change underfoot the more you do it. So practice, practice, practice and let your indoor Type A flag fly.
Boulder Race All Year Round, Nicklaus combs said "Short stride and fast pace»Can make a big difference because the less contact you have with the ice, the less time you have to slide! In addition, it means that you take a lighter step, put less force on the ice. Short steps don't mean faster, it just means increasing your foot rotation.Afraid of running on snow and ice? Check out these great tips #runchat #winter Click to Tweet
Just like you need chains on your tires for the mountains (yeah, stuff I'm learning in Colorado), you need to winter these shoes.
Adding a spike or other gripping tool to your shoes is a great way to improve traction.
There are many options depending on your budget:
- put screws in your existing shoes
- buy one sweater for your shoes that has spikes (that's what I do)
- invest in quality shoes if you do a lot of ice cream
My new friend Kate who lives, run and enjoy the outdoors all year round in Alaska had this advice:
“To run on the ice, I use a waterproof shoe and slip my Khatoola Nano Spikes on top to protect myself from slips and slips. We also sell a shoe called "IceBugs”Which have carbon spikes at the bottom of the shoe that are properly placed so as not to affect your wear when you run.
Sometimes when running stores cleats for runners (or puts screws in tennis shoes) they can get them crooked or in the wrong place and over time they can cause runners to injure them. If spikes aren't an option for whatever reason, I ... padded shorts always recommended." Ok I really like that last tip.
There you have it - everything you wanted to know about snow and ice racing.
It's been an adventure the last 5 years, going from Florida races to Colorado winter. I was hesitant at first, but now I'm enjoying this season as much as the others.
Do you have any advice on snow and ice?
Do you avoid it or do you accept it?
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Most people think of running as a solo venture. And while runners appreciate ( read : need ) quality “me time, ” there’s something quite powerful about course in a pack.
“Most of the time people join groups for the social experience, but the cool thing about a running group is that you can be a part of it without saying a word, ” says Scott Miller, founder of the Boulder Trail Running Breakfast Club. “It’s a great opportunity to connect. ”
Here, Miller plus five other running club founders, share tips for building—and sustaining—your own course club.
Jessamy Little, who founded the Cass Runners Club, a 100-plus person course group in London comprised of her business school classmates, suggests asking potential members what days, times, and locations work best with their schedules. Some groups may favor an early morning sweat sesh, while others may prefer meeting after work. “A recommendation for a newer club is to have two set running days, ” Little says. “One during the week that is more focused on ‘getting it done’ and one on weekends that can have a more ‘fun and footloose’ vibe. ” For Little’s group, the weekend runs were geared toward exploring new areas of the city.
“Don’t get discouraged if not a lot of people show up at first, ” says Marnie Kunz, founder of Runstreet, an NYC-based company that leads art runs—urban runs that pass by street art in cities across the U. S. When Kunz held her first art run in 2015, just one person came : a man on a bike. Kunz was disappointed, embarrassed, and considered canceling the whole thing. But the next week a few more people showed up, and then a few more. Soon, word got out. Runstreet has since hosted more than 200 runs in cities around the country “Realizing that everyone starts from scratch really helps, ” Kunz says.
Kunz stresses the importance of having your own website that houses all information about your runs along with photos. “Social media platforms can change—and not everyone is on every platform—so it helps to have everything in one place. ” Keep your communication consistent across platforms to help create a streamlined brand.
Let people know what they are getting themselves into, Miller says. His Boulder, Colorado-based group of 100-plus members meets every Saturday for a long trail run ( anywhere between two to six hours ) followed by a group breakfast. Because the group’s runs cover a wide range of terrain, he wrote several articles explaining the general types of conditions runners can expect and the group’s approximate pace along with safety tips.
The articles are published on the group’s MeetUp page, and when a new person signs up, Miller sends them the reading material. “If your group is not a beginner group, you need to make that clear, ” Miller says. “You don’t want people to show up and have a bad time. I try to be really descriptive about the time, distance, and elevation of our runs so people know what they are in for. ”
Many members of Miller’s group take photos during the runs and post them to the group’s page. He says it helps draw new members. “When people are looking for a course group and they see pictures of runs in amazing areas, people smiling—both men and women—they see that it’s a mixed group that likes to be social and have fun. ”
Frankie Ruiz, cofounder of the Miami Marathon and founder of the Baptist Health South Florida Brickell Run Club, a free, once-a-week, Miami-based group of about 400 runners, can count on one hand the number of times he’s cancelled runs throughout the program’s nine-year tenure.
“Our main message is that we don’t cancel, ” he says. “If it’s really rough out, we’ll go to a parking garage or go indoors and do a core session. ” He says this has helped build the club’s reputation as a consistent amenity offered by the city. “Even if a runner doesn’t show up, I think there’s a comfort knowing that there is something in your city that doesn’t stop. ”
“If you have new people coming in, you can’t assume that they know the rules and guidelines, ” Ruiz says. “Communication needs to be all the time. ” Even though the group’s “weather-proof policy” may be well understood among current members, every time the skies get gloomy, the club blasts their social channels with reminders that the runs are still on. It also helps to communicate the planned route, distance, and pace in advance so that new members can plan their fioul and attire accordingly.