Trail Running in Winter

Trail Running in Winter

In certain parts of the country, ‘tis the season for icy, snowy trails. And if you’re a trail runner, you likely don’t want to spend your entire winter on a treadmill. Alaska-native Geoff Roes knows a thing or two about running on snow and ice. He’s won the Alaskan Iditarod Trail Invitational once and spent a few winters living and training in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

1. Count miles as double. Running on snow/ice engages different muscles compared to running on dry ground. Don’t expect to be able to just jump into running the same mileage that you have been recently running on bare ground.

Consider counting miles on snow/ice as double miles until you feel your body has fully adapted to the new surface. This generally takes 4-6 weeks.

2. Size traction devices down. When using traction devices, go down at least one size from what the manufacturer recommends. Manufacturers tend to size these on the larger side, and there’s nothing worse than slipping on a patch of ice only because your traction has shifted around to the side of your foot.

“Running Times’ correspondent Joel Wolpert caught up with trail runner Anton Krupicka to see how he runs through the Colorado winter. As do all of Wolpert’s films, this one features local music: songs by Denver, Colorado bands The Lumineers and Paper Bird.”

3. Choose socks wisely. Keeping feet warm when running in snow/cold is more about circulation than it is about insulation. Thicker socks can be helpful, but only if you have plenty of space in your shoes to accommodate them. More often than not, a thicker sock just cuts down your circulation and actually makes your feet colder.

4. Explore more trails. In many cases, there are actually as many or more trails available in the winter. Snowmobile routes, Nordic ski trails, and frozen lakes can all make for great winter trail running, so get creative. When running on trails that are primarily used by other groups, be sure that they are, in fact, multi-use trails.

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