The Cold and the Beautiful: 4 Tips for Running in the Snow

Crappy holidays!  It’s officially the worst time of the year to be a runner.  Unless you’re living near the southern border, you’re probably finding yourself in a wicked cold snap and/or blizzard.

Currently, I’m in Chicago and we’re experiencing sub-zero temperatures with intermittent snow.  The few times I’ve gotten outdoors, however, it’s been beautiful.  Running in the snow is a special treat, but it can be a challenge.  Here are some pointers to keep in mind when running in the snow.

Count Miles as Double

First and foremost, working out in the snow is going to make you feel muscles you didn’t know you had.  Your body, particularly your inner and outer thighs, work overtime because the muscles are trying to find stability on the uncertain ground.  Don’t sweat counting one mile as two – just getting outdoors is already quite the feat!

Find the Fresh Snow

Fresh snow offers better grip than snow that’s been packed in and exposed to the elements.  In fact, consider packed snow the equivalent of running on ice.  Just avoid it.

Modify Your Stride

Keep your feet low to the ground and shorten your normal stride.  The key word here is uncertainty.  Snow on the ground can hide potholes and ice.  If you’ve modified your running stride, you might slip but you won’t fall.

Add Some Traction

Invest in some Yaktrax.  I’ve been quite impressed with how well the Yaktrax worked on my snowy sidewalk.  In fact, my run felt like business as usual.  Just make sure to only wear them in the snow.  Keep them in your pocket when indoors or on regular terrain – you can ruin the traction.

Keep an Eye on the Road

It’s all about running smart.  Keep an eye on the footprints of your predecessors.  The snow can indicate potentially slippery areas or unforeseen obstacles ahead of you.  If something looks suspicious, don’t be afraid to walk.

Happy trails, snow bunnies!


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