Stay on the trails this winter

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Winter is coming (or is it here already?) and for many people that means heading inside to run on the dreaded treadmill, or sticking to well plowed roads and sidewalks.

In Rochester, the treadmills are the same as everywhere else (boring), but good luck finding those “well plowed” roads or even shoveled off sidewalks.

Well this looks safe, no?

So what can you do? How can you keep running trails all winter long? Can you make it fun? Safe? Full of Adventure?

Safer and better views

Besides dressing warm, which has been discussed at length, what can you do to really enjoy the trails in the Winter.

What are your choices? Where can you save some money? Where can you spend and get the best of the best?

1. $ Screw Shoes – simple, easy, effective in shallow snow, ice, and even mud.

2.  $$ Sole Spikes – Tougher and grippier than screw shoes, with a bit more cost. They should hold up better than sheet metal screws.

3. $$$ Yax trax – Lots of options with this company – They do a great job and don’t clog up with ice and snow like some options.

4. $$$$ Micro Spikes – Hardcore – grips the heck out of ice. Feel a bit thick under the shoe, but you sure as heck won’t slip!

5. $$$$$ SnowShoes – There are tons of choices, just search around. Most taper towards the back to make sure you don’t get heel clipping. These have crampons attached to grip any surface, and of course, help you stay above the snow!

If you don’t want to buy. Rent. Contact Fleet Feet Rochester or  Medved Running and Walking for rental options.

Check out this photo from Medved of a snowshoe runner right here in Rochester!

What about running in the bad weather/conditions though?

1. Slow down – You will have much better footing if you go just a tad slower.

2. Pay attention – I have seen many runners trip on roots just from not looking on trails. Snow, ice, and mud are the same. Look for it. Be prepared for it.

3. 2 steps is better than 1 – We have written about this before, but don’t chance jumping over logs with a huge hop. There may be a streak of ice on the other side. Take your time, figure it out then go.

TrailsRoc's very own Eric Eagan sporting SoleSpikes to grip that ice at SnowCheap last year!

How do I run in snow shoes?

1. It is almost exactly the same as “regular running”.

2. You will need to lift your knees a bit higher. This helps you clear the snow and not catch the toe or crampons on the ground.

3. You may need your stance to be a bit wider, so just pay attention to this.

4. Snowshoes will kick up snow on your backside. Plan your clothing for this. Hard shells beat fleece as the snow bounces right off.

Snowshoe runners at the 2010 Lake Effect Snow Festival

Other Tips

1. Practice with both the bindings and shoes at home or close to home. The trail head is no time to experiment.

2. Avoid the deep fluff the first few times out. A well groomed trail is easier to learn on.

3. Rent before you buy… you might not love it.

So there you have it. Winter running, especially on trails can be an amazing experience. Find out what works best for you, and get out and enjoy the trails. If you have any awesome winter trail photos, we would love to have you share them on our facebook page, send them our way!