How to Run With Snow Shoes

How to Run With Snow Shoes
You're most likely to encounter snowshoe running or jogging as a fitness endeavor, a competitive racing event, or as part of a snowshoe softball game. Some athletes, such as runners or triathletes, may also use snowshoe running to cross train. The extra weight of the snowshoes, paired with increased resistance from snow and the varied terrain one can easily access on snowshoes make for a challenging winter workout.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Snowshoes
Step 1
Walk or jog well below your normal pace for 5 to 10 minutes. This warm up period allows your body to adapt to the new exercise and helps reduce your risk of injury. It also quite literally warms you up; pause to remove any extra layers, if necessary, after your warm up and before running at your normal pace.
Step 2
Maintain a normal running stride with your feet slightly further apart than usual to keep the snowshoes from overlapping. You should be familiar enough with the snowshoes you're running in that you don't have to look down to know they're correctly placed.
Step 3
Place each foot firmly and confidently as you run, but don't stomp. Be aware of the snow conditions under your feet. If you find yourself running on hard-packed snow, your firm foot placements will help the crampons on the bottoms of your snowshoes grip the hard surface.
Step 4
Pump your arms to help maintain forward momentum, especially going up hills. Swinging your arms may also help with balance. Trekking poles are not recommended when snowshoe running. If you must use poles for balance, you'll have to swing your arms with every step to keep the poles in use.
Step 5
Lean back slightly and take short steps to control your speed when running down a slope. Think of hopping down the slope a bit at a time instead of running down it.

Tips & Warnings

Practice walking in snowshoes before you try to run in them. Walk in the snowshoes you intend to run with, as each pair of snowshoes will handle slightly different from the others. Use specially designed running snowshoes if possible; running snowshoes are usually lighter than standard snowshoes and specially designed to facilitate a running gait. This practice session also lets you identify any problems with the snowshoes, like loose bindings, and remedy them.
Wear waterproof or water resistant pants, as your snowshoes may kick some snow up onto your backside with every stride. The water-resistant pants help keep you from getting wet to the skin.
Be aware of the dangers associated with cold weather, especially if you are snowshoe running far from home or your car. Know how to evaluate and avoid avalanche danger, know which slopes are open to snow machine use--and avoid them--and adjust clothing layers as necessary to maintain a comfortable body temperature.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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