Running in the snow is possible (and often great)

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Running in the snow is possible (and often great)

Posted on February 21, 2013

I love running in the snow.  There is something about the quiet, and brightness that really makes for a great run.   The only problem is that it can be so darn slippery and dangerous.  I have already discussed a mechanical way to deal with this issue in my article, snow chains for your sneakers.  Now I am going to share three tips that you can use to make the physical adjustments needed to successfully deal with running on snow and ice.

My first suggestion is to shorten up your stride.  When running on a dry surface, a long stride feels natural, and will help you to move along your path in an efficient manner.  This is not the case when the ground is slippery.  In this situation, a longer stride will impart more horizontal momentum to your body, which makes slipping more likely.   All you need to do to combat this situation is to shorten your stride.  This will take some of your horizontal momentum out of the equation, which will make you feel much more stable.  When attempting this you may find that your running feels a bit choppier than normal.  In my eyes this is a small price to pay in return for being able to continue running outside, regardless of the weather.

Along the same lines, you also want to try and make your steps lighter as you run.  Taking heavier, more forceful strides will cause the same horizontal momentum issues that taking longer strides does.   I expect that you will find that concentrating on taking gentler steps will go a long way to increasing your stability on poor running surfaces.

My last tip is to try and concentrate on how your feet push off of the ground.  To be honest, I want you to focus on not pushing off.  Instead, I would like you to concentrate on picking your foot up from the surface, instead of focusing on pushing off as you normally would.  The best way to do this is to try and keep your core tight and engaged when you run, using it to generate the energy needed to lift your legs from the ground.  Really try to focus on the thought “up” as you take each step.  Learning to do this will go a long way to making your runs feel a much more comfortable when on slippery surfaces.  An added bonus is that technique will not only help in the snow, but also on any poor surface you might encounter.

So there you have it.  Just shorten up your stride, keep your steps light, and try to pick up your feet, instead of pushing off with them.  If you work on these techniques, you will be comfortable running in the snow before you know it.  It is definitely worth the trouble.