By Eric Senseman
For many of us around the country, snow has officially arrived. You now have a difficult choice to make when it comes to running — you can brave the elements, seek out a treadmill, or forgo your training run altogether. If you’re lucky enough to live in a winter climate within driving distance of a warmer climate, you have a fourth option: drive to warmer environs and find dry ground. But for those who must brave the elements this winter, here are some tips on tackling your next training run in snowy conditions.
If there’s snow outside, it will be cold. As previously discussed in this winter running blog series, be sure to layer up before going outside. But you’ll need more than layers of clothes to safely navigate the roads and trails. A change in footwear is needed. Here are three tips to help you safely train through snowy conditions.
First, in snowy conditions, the most important addition to your ensemble is footwear traction. Roads and sidewalks, even once plowed, often retain a layer of ice or slush. You might not even see the icy conditions before you–black ice has taken down many unsuspecting runners. So, in short, it’s better to be safe with footwear traction than sorry without it.
Kahtoola, a Flagstaff-based company that designs durable traction devices to keep runners, hikers, and walkers upright throughout the winter, has you covered. Of their three traction devices, the best-selling Exospike offers the most versatile uses. Whether walking on sidewalks, hiking in the mountains, or running city streets, the Exospike will keep you off the ground and moving forward.
Second, in addition to footwear traction, a change in footwear will help you brave the elements and stay comfortable in snowy conditions. A waterproof shoe with GORE-TEX, like the HOKA Clifton 9 GTX, helps keep moisture out and heat in as you plod through cold and wet conditions. You can also find waterproof shoes with a higher ankle height, or add gaiters–another offering from Kahtoola–over your shoes, to further protect and insulate your feet.
Third, and finally, you’ll want to focus on effort instead of pace during your snowy runs. There’s no need to set a personal best in the 5k or run intervals as fast as you can on especially snowy days. Run easy and mind your footing, saving the hard efforts for indoors or dryer days.
Stay safe and upright with a change in footwear when winter calls.