Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tips for Snow Running

As per my training plan, this weekend called for a long run! Yesterday my running buddy and I suited up for 3 miles outside and planned on 5 miles today. These were my first runs outside since Florida, and it made me remember how hard running in the snow is! Thankfully it has been super sunny out so the runs were really fun.
Here are my tips for running in the snow:
-The weather in the winter can be unpredictable! Check it when planning your run to find the best time of day that works for you (typically it's warmer in the mid-afternoon!)
-The sun is a great motivator and is energizing in the winter. Try to schedule workouts when you can get some vitamin D.
-Snow and ice are the obvious challenges you'll deal with. I hesitate to run if it's a snow shower, but a light flurry makes you feel like you're running in a snowglobe :)
-Avoid black ice or icy conditions in general: not only can you slip and injure yourself, cars and bikers are more slippery too.

-The right gear is crucial to your success in snowy runs. It's important to wear clothes that fit close to your body and wick away sweat. If you sweat too much in the cold, you run the risk of freezing and even hypothermia. For this reason, cotton fabrics are generally avoided in winter gear.
-I follow a 3-layer system when doing middle distance runs outside. I start with a base layer of running tights (spandex) and silk long underwear top. Sidenote: these can be cheap! My tights are from when I was running in high school and the top is from Gander Mountain.
-The second layer is my warm layer. I put on fleece/polyester running pants and a fleece pullover. If I'm doing long runs, I take off the fleece top as I get way too hot. I also wear SmartWool athletic socks and they keep my feet hot throughout.
-Finally the third layer is all about protection from the elements. A bright wind jacket helps block the cold and keep me visible. The fleece headband is warm, but cooler than a hat and I also run with polyester gloves.

Your Run:
-The most startling thing about snow running for me was how HARD it is! The level of exertion is higher in the cold, plus the snowy hills and streets make gripping the pavement difficult. Often times it feels like you're running in sand.
-For that reason, don't worry about your time. You will go slower, and it will feel harder to run but it's unwise to push yourself hard in a harsh climate.
-Don't forget to hydrate! Just because it's the winter doesn't mean that you don't sweat :) I also try to remember chapstick and sunblock if it's particularly windy or sunny.

All of that being said, both of my snow workouts were great. I did go slower, but they were great runs!

Saturday: 3 miler splits- 10:09, 10:14, 10:44

Today: 5 miler splits- 9:57, 10:50 (section with 200ft climb!), 10:06, 10:14, 10:22

When I got home from my run today, I had my first Green Monster, which is basically a smoothie full of greens and goodness. Into the blender went:
-a handful of spinach
-1/2 cup rice milk
-scoop of Vega Chocolate protein powder
-scoop of peanut flour (yum!)
-1/4 cup pumpkin

The verdict? It was absolutely amazing! Sooo yummy and full of great protein, veggies, fruits and deliciousness. I'm hooked!

Any more tips for snow running? Or smoothie recipes? I love them!


  1. Man, I have to admit, I absolutely stick to my treadmill in the winter. I am not a winter kinda girl and running through the snow just seems not so fun to me. I know I'd get a better work out outdoors, but I just can't bring myself to do it, haha!

  2. Great tips, I am training for my first marathon and ever since the winter started I have been sticking to the treadmill. I just cant run outdoors in this cold weather.

  3. I do work out on the treadmill in the winter, but long lines at the gym make it such a hassle! Remember when training for a marathon, it's best to get outside for your runs at least once per week, to get used to the terrain and wind resistance! I like to do my long runs outside, because a slower pace is expected and encouraged, I don't mind slowing down in the snow. Happy running!

  4. Great tips! I'm running a half marathon on the 29th and running out in the snow is a challenge, but it makes me feel hardcore :)

  5. Nothing really makes me feel as ALIVE as running in snow! My advice for the snow is if the sidewalk is really slippery, run in the grass until you get past the slippery part! It's a little more taxing on the legs, but the grass usually doesn't get as icy as the sidewalk. =D


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