micke-midlife on January 24th, 2009

Running in snow is tough. Was out today for almost 16km, mostly on the home door step standard running route around the Vanhankaupunginlahti bay. And what do I see? There’s a cross-country ski run put into the snow along the way. On my running trail! Now all those rigorous and ego-centric skiers come along and think that this annoying runner should find his routes elsewhere. Fortunately, this time no-one said that. I thought that the trail is wide enough to accomodate both runners and skiers. They have the ski runs on the sides and I can run in the middle. Although it would better to run on if a snow plow would come along and clear the trail… ;-)

Anyway, there was no snow plough coming along (and I guess the skiers made sure of that) and hence the underground was a tramped down snow field, with a lot of loose stuff on top. That’s tough to run on. Every step results in gliding back or sidewise when the foot puts pressure on the ground. Average km running pace were on that part of the trail somewhere between 5:30 and 6:15 min/km, whereas normally on a basic run we’re going at a 4:30min/km pace. The running co-ordination as learned and improved during teen years in the numerous middle distance training sessions, are totally down the drain and it feels more like stamping through mud, although it doesn’t stick to the shoes.

I’d prefer to think about the benefits of running in snow (need to keep things positive). So what does the web say on those? Well, see for yourself, a hilarious discussion on LetsRun.com. Otherwise, of course higher energy consumption and training all those small muscles in the ankles and knee that look after stability when the feet are gliding around.

Further tips on running on snow are plenty on the web, a good summary here on runningonline.com