Running in the snow will present a totally different challenge than running on a dry surface. The type of snow, depth of snow, temperature and time of day can all affect how difficult it is to trudge through the elements. Your average pace could be affected by several seconds per mile to a few minutes per mile! This is a great time to ditch the GPS watch and just run by feel. Just enjoy getting outside and don’t stress about specific mileage and paces.
We highly recommend tracking your run by minutes instead of miles. It’s also important to be open to running shorter than planned since snowy conditions can be harder on the body. For example, if it typically takes you 80 minutes to run 10 miles in ideal conditions, it may take you significantly longer to complete the distance while trekking in the snow. As a result, you’ll put more stress on your body and it will take longer to recover.
Start with a warm pair of socks and shoes that are appropriate for the type of surface and conditions you will be running in. Trail shoes are often a good fit for snowy or icy roads. Next, layer clothing relative to the temperature, moisture and wind. Never wear cotton under technical running apparel because it will soak up the sweat. Here is a great selection of winter running apparel from Saucony.
A good base layer should be somewhat light and close to the skin. A middle or top layer should be thicker and insulating while still allowing moisture to escape. If conditions are really extreme, throw on third layer that is lightweight and wind resistant. Top this all off with a warm pair of gloves or mittens and a hat or headband.
Don’t Fear the Treadmill.
As refreshing as it is to get out the door for a run, even when the conditions aren’t ideal, sometimes it is simply safer to run inside on the treadmill. Occasionally jumping on the treadmill when the roads are icy or temperatures are well below freezing can save you from a serious injury or fall. Additionally, treadmills are great options for getting in speed work or intense interval sessions when it would otherwise be impossible outside. The key is to be flexible and creative to ensure that you get the most out of training in the winter months.
What have you learned from running in the snow?
Share your tips in the comments below!