The Kigo Edge and Track Spike are great in the snow and ice because they are flat to the ground giving full foot feel. Land under your center of mass with short quick steps. You will not fall. Trust me….I’m a doctor 🙂
Tips for Winter Running
Winter running is one of the most enjoyable and serene experiences for the senses. On some days you may be one of the few outside and there is a mystical silence. This is even better after a fresh snow fall when you cannot even hear your footsteps.
Now if we followed the advice of many modern parents we might never run outside….”it is too cold, it is too hot, it is too wet, it is too windy, it might rain, it is slushy out, its getting dark”….so there is always the treadmill.
But if you want to get out and stay out here are some time tested tips from some of the gurus and experimented on by myself and others for decades. I Spent 2 months one winter in Nome, Alaska and ran almost everyday on the Iditarod trail. Had a little peep hole to see through but as long as I started into the wind, all was warm and well. My friend Ben Bolock (2nd place 2009 Freedom’s Run Marathon) just moved to Alaska and has been running 2 miles to and from work using the layer approach.
Best old school advice comes from guru Running author Dr. George Sheehan (written circa 1980). He mentions that exercise physiologists determined that wearing clothes suitable for 70 ° is acceptable clothing for -5° (F) while running. Dr. Sheehan also mentioned wool mittens over gloves and layers. He also swore by turtlenecks to keep the neck arteries warm and he wore an asthma mask. This was before the nice tech fibers, synthetic wools, and even Gore Tex. George ran a 4:47 mile at age 50 over 30 years ago so he knew what he was doing.
So here is the top 10 list of essentials for winter running
- The right attitude for winter running….once you get moving you will be warm.
- A good upper body wicking baselayer. If less than 20° use a turtleneck or zip turtle neck.
- Add a windbreaker on top and if less than 10° consider another nylon vest. This does not have to be expensive Gore-Tex. My favorites are over 10 years old and have been through the wash 100’s of times.
- Tech fiber running pants are comfortable from 0° up to 60°. These are loose fitting so you can feel comfortable finishing your run at a coffee shop without being too revealing
- Use compression shorts (bike shorts) under the running pants.
- For men if you are in the true arctic zone consider a wind brief….enough said.
- Vaseline for the face if 0° range
- A particle mask (Home Depot variety) works great to warm and humidify the air for comfort (no your lungs will not freeze without this). Get a higher quality one that will not collapse against your face.
- Synthetic socks or good quality wool for really cold days.
- Good quality thermal or wool cap (with non wool lining for itch protection) and mittens.
The extra performance and safety tip is to drill some sheet metal screws into an old pair of running shoes, use track spikes, or try Yaktrax
Snow and ice running are great opportunities to work on your running form too. You are forced to keep your feet under you (no overstriding), shorten your stride, stay balanced, and put your foot down and pick it up (avoiding friction). A prefect practice ground for ChiRunning, a technique for teaching better running mechanics.