Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Snowshoe Running: Winter Workout Fun!

Written by: Laura Kantor

Love trail running? Enjoy snow? Combine the two and snowshoe run this winter!

Snowshoe running is super-fun, a great workout, and is winter sports convenience at its best: dress for a winter run, grab your snowshoes, and go! You’ll have a big smile on your face the entire time because you’ll feel like a kid playing in the snow while you’re getting your workout in.

Snowshoe running is easy to do. If you run without snowshoes, you can run with them. You’ll have it figured out and having fun in literally 30 seconds. It is a fun but intense workout that builds both lower and upper body strength and endurance. You’ll find yourself lifting your knees higher and driving your arms and legs harder both up and down hills. The soft nature and variability of snowy trails is a great workout for the stabilizing muscles in your core and legs and will make you a stronger trail runner come next spring.

Running with snowshoes burns up to 40% more calories than running at the same pace without snow. It builds up body heat much faster because you’re working so much harder, and you’ll start to sweat more heavily and earlier in your workout. For this reason, you should start your run feeling a little chilly because you’ll warm up quick.

If you run in Central Oregon in winter, you’ve already got the clothing you need. Dress in light layers up top, warm running tights, hat, and warm gloves or mittens.

You’ll want specialized running snowshoes and short, low-profile gaiters. FootZone carries both! Gortex trail shoes are ideal, but many people wear their regular trail running shoes with warm socks, such as SmartWool or DryMax, and stay warm. Wear your hydration pack or waist pack with water bottle, take a snack, and remember your camera!

Snowshoe running will cause you to think about pace differently. Expect your pace to be a few minutes per mile slower than you’re used to running. Since snowshoe training is more rigorous than running, your snowshoe runs will be shorter. Run for time instead of miles.

You can snowshoe run wherever there is adequate snow. We have awesome snowshoe trails in Central Oregon that weave through the forest to warming shelters, through lava fields, to lakes, or to the tops of buttes with amazing mountain views. Run down the closed Cascade Lakes Highway, up the forest road past Todd Lake, or on any marked trail. Since we’ve recently had a good amount of snow in town, the forest roads around Phil’s Trail and Shevlin Park are good bets for a close-to-home midweek run.

Snowshoe Run with Laura hits the trails weekly. All running paces are welcome for a low-key group snowshoe run every Saturday morning through mid-March. Our focus is on fun and fitness, and we visit a different trail or destination every week! Connect with us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SnowshoeWithLaura/ or contact Laura at SnowshoeWithLaura@gmail.com.

I look forward to sharing our beautiful winter trails with you!

Laura Kantor ran for the first time in her adult life in 2006. She was introduced to snowshoe running two years ago and fell in love with the sport on her very first run. Now Laura shares the joy, beauty, and adventure of snowshoe running with others.

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