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Everything You Need To Know Before Running on Snow

Table of Contents

With the right preparation and a positive mindset, running in the snow can be fun, safe, and also an elevated phase in your running journey.

Even though it would be a totally different experience from running in a warmer season, you do not have to be intimidated by it.

Running in the winter is optimal for those looking to work on their endurance rather than those looking to improve on speed.

Endurance is vital when it comes to running because it helps train your muscles to withstand periods of exercise and reap better results too! 

In this article, we help you prepare for the most exciting run of your life.

If this is your first time and snow is a foreign concept to you, it’s important to follow the basic guidelines to ensure your safety and wellbeing during your run.

We will also help you with tips on how to face something many snow-runners fear: ice.

Running on snow may not be for everyone, but if you are interested, read on! Let’s get started.

What to Wear

1. Shoes

In case you run into slippery surfaces such as a frozen lake or pathway, consider investing in shoes that are waterproof, have a firm sole for friction, and adding spikes.

Some stores sell a sleeve with spikes at the sole for shoes that you can pull over your own, which is great if you do not want to spend money getting another pair of shoes.

Trail running shoes will work just fine if you are sticking to running trails in the snow.

Fresh snow could also work best for you if you don’t want to add studs on, just remember to tread lightly and with caution. 

2. Outfit 

The main idea here is to keep you warm but still give you mobility.

We recommend getting fleece-lined running tights and a jacket or vest.

You do not want to pile on too many layers, so investing in good heat-tech material would do yourself a huge favour.

This is because when you start to run, your body will eventually heat up and many layers could increase the amount of perspiration you will produce.

This could lead to you being drenched in sweat, ultimately resulting in you shivering from the cold. 

3. Other Accessories

The more skin you have exposed, the higher the chances of those parts freezing off during your run.

You could get yourself a pair of winter gloves, a beanie, sports sunglasses, and a face mask.

Alternatively, if you tend to have dry skin, pile on moisturizer and petroleum jelly to shield your face from the icy elements.

Prepare for Your Run

In your planning and preparation, shortlist potential trails to take in order to avoid running into black ice and schedule it in the morning — the earlier the better.

When the sun is out, it could help you see your trail clearer and help you identify the icy spots as well.

Some runners bring out a headlamp with them to increase the visibility of their path too.

However, do keep a close eye out for black ice, which forms during early mornings and in the late evenings, when the temperatures are usually low.

Black ice is dangerous because it is clear and reduces the friction of the surface it is on and is usually the cause of many road accidents.

Do take note that running on the snow would engage different muscles, which could cause strain for some.

Just like running on sandy beaches, you might have to put in more work being conscious of your footing.

Scrap all plans to sprint, or beat a previous running timing.

Instead, take your time to understand what muscles are being engaged, and evaluate if this is an exercise to pursue.

If it seems like too much work, consider completing your running goals in a gym on a treadmill instead.

Remember, your safety first!

In the Case of Ice

Ideally, we advise runners to avoid running on ice and find an alternative route if possible.

The risks are higher, especially if it is your first time as you could really land quite serious injuries from slipping.

However, if it is unavoidable, an expert tip is to keep your footing quick and light.

The idea is to keep contact and pressure on the icy surface to the minimum in order to reduce the chances of slipping.

If possible, try to find out which regions on your path melt and refreeze in order to avoid slipping. 

Remember to add spikes or studs to your running shoes to better your grip on the surface.

Try to avoid DIY-ing your shoes by adding screws on your own, as they could either dislodge or be placed in a way that is hazardous for the runner’s foot. 

If your path has ice that you cannot work around, unfortunately, we highly advise that you stick to exercising indoors.

If you have had a previous injury or are wary of accidents happening, snow-running might not be the best exercise for you to undertake. 

Do Your Warm-Ups

Every athlete and trainer in the world will always emphasize the importance of warm-ups no matter the sport or activity you’re partaking in.

If you want to reduce the chances of injury and also stay warm, a warm-up is a good way to go.

It gets your body heated up and slowly increases your heart rate, which is a better option than shocking your body with sudden exercise in the extreme cold.

You could jog in place indoors, do a couple of skips or stretch for a bit. 

It’s okay to be slightly daunted by the prospect of running on snow — it makes you more cautious.

While ice is usually the major reason for many people choosing to stay inside, it can be avoided with practice and ample preparation.

If you can avoid it, avoid it. We hope this article has helped you learn more about running on snow and that it has assisted you in preparing for it.

Have fun!