Time to Convert

Posted: February 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

There’s no doubt that this training season has been a challenge.  The weather, snowbanks, icy roadways, etc. has made it incredibly difficult to meet the weekly mileage totals.  These conditions are here for a while,  AND there’s more to come!  It’s time to add another option to the treadmill and other indoor workouts- snowshoe running.  At first thought, it may seem too complicated to get started, but it’s really simple AND it’s a BLAST! 

Now’s the time to make the purchase.  You’ll get lots of use out of your snowshoes this year and you’ll have them for many years to come!  We’ve had ours for over 15 years.  It’s a one-time investment for years of enjoyment, and there’s no charge to use them.  Many of the outdoor stores are holding sales now, so you might also get a great deal on a good pair.  Check out BackCountryGear.com http://www.backcountrygear.com/index.cfm, for an online choice, and any outdoor store such as EMS, REI, L.L.Bean, Dicks, etc. if you want to try some on.  EMS, LLBean and REI even have rentals if you aren’t quite ready to invest.   We have Tubbs 10k and Redfeather brands, but there are many other wonderful choices such as Atlas.  Once you have your snowshoes you can take them anywhere- we enjoy lots of local trails in Grafton, but we’ve also run on the grounds of our local high school, the fields of Tufts Vet School and local golf courses- and these options are great for nighttime snowshoeing too!

So, if you are still in doubt, here’s a simple plan:

1. Check out http://esnowshoes.com/learn-about-snowshoes/buying-snowshoes/what-snowshoe-features-are-best-for-me/ for a little background on snowshoes. 

2. Shop online for prices, types, etc.

3. Purchase your snowshoes (no need for poles when running, but poles might be fun to have for hiking/walking, gaitors are also a good accessory, and no need for boots (except for hiking/walking) you can just wear your running shoes! )

4. Dress as if you are going for a run, go to any large open space, or wooded area, strap them on and go. 

So, give it a try.   Snowshoes will allow you to embrace the snow and REALLY enjoy it while still meeting your training requirements (you will need to consider the extra effort of a snowshoe run and decrease your mileage accordingly).  There’s nothing more beautiful or peaceful than being in the woods or a field after a fresh snowfall.  At the risk of cyber-retaliation, I have to admit, I LOVE the snow-  bring it on!

Rider enjoying a snowshoe run on a trail in Grafton

  1. Can you really *run* wearing showshoes though, or is it more like that aqua-running that sounds good in theory, but really isn’t a comfortable way to crank out a few miles? I went snow-shoeing last winter, and though it was more of a hike, the tops of my feet were ultra-sore for days afterwards.

  2. Lori says:

    Yes, you really can run on snowshoes- check out Rider’s picture. It’s much easier to follow a trail that is worn- a snowmobile trail is ideal- because running snowshoes don’t keep you up on the very deep snow. Walk breaks are allowed and often necessary because of the effort put forth in snowshoe running, and you’ll likely adjust your mileage according to the output of effort. But you can run, it’s very productive, very low impact and lots of fun! You should experience no discomfort from the snowshoes- were you wearing running shoes or boots? Muscle fatigue is normal, but there shouldn’t be any other associated issues from the snowshoes. I hope you try it again!

  3. Cheryl Reed says:

    Okay Rick, I’m totally game for this! I hate being in the gym, but, frankly, I am getting nervous on the roads with the snowbanks and cars. I just have a couple of questions, though. First, I have a pair of snowshoes from LLBean that I purchased a couple of years ago, but do they have to specifically be running snowshoes? I don’t think that these are. Also, depending on the type of snow, I don’t always totally stay above the snow, so I can’t imagine my feet not getting wet with my running shoes on. I haven’t, however, gone specifically on packed trails, so that may make a difference. Finally, if we are not used to running like this, should we still think of trying to do the same miles, say, if I want to do a 5 miler? I may do try this for my run Friday!

    • Lori says:

      Cheryl, as long as your snow shoes are light weight and not big and bulky, you should try running in them. The bindings on our snowshoes pivot, so the heel of the shoe falls away from the toe when we take a step, however, running in shoes with fixed bindings works also. If the trails are not worn, your running shoes will get covered with snow, but for the length of time of your run, it really doesn’t present a problem. If you have gaitors, use them, it will minimize the snow cover on your shoes. If you are running on packed trails, you’ll get very little snow on your shoes. As for the mileage, it is definitely a good idea to start off moderately. See what the effort feels like and what your stride feels like. At first you might need to be conscious of keeping your stride a bit wider and longer, but your stride will become much more natural once you get used to it and you really won’t notice a difference. I’d recommend starting with a 3 mile run with walk breaks and going from there. Of course, if you are on snowmobile trails, you might be able to do 5 miles rather easily. Plunging into deep snow takes great effort and you’ll definitely fatique very quickly, so you’ll want to decrease your mileage on a fresh trail. I hope you have a great time on Friday and please post back to let me know how it goes!

      • Cheryl Reed says:

        Hi Lori!
        Thanks for the additional info on snowshoe running! Unfortunately, my shedule Friday didn’t end up allowing me the extra time to try it. I just scooted out to fit in my 5 mile run on the road. Hopefully next week I can fit it in. Will let you know how it goes!

  4. Lori says:

    Hello Cheryl,

    Here’s another snowshoeing link that you might find interesting and, perhaps, more convincing- http://www.cutemoose.net/snowshoe_training.htm. I hope you get to go out soon! I was out on Sunday and it was beautiful!

  5. Becky says:

    I was forced into an early running-retirement after multiple knee surgeries. I tried walking but was missing my runners high. Snowshoeing actually gives me that runners high back, and all the superwoman powers that comes along with it. Afterwards, I have the “just went for a run” feeling. Snowshoeing hours after breaking my tail bone was slow going, however, walking on dirt and pavement with regular footwear was absolutely excruciating, almost impossible.

    I was originally failing miserably at this running-retirement thing, but by replacing it with snowshoeing and hiking/mt biking in snowless weather has made me happy once again.

  6. Lori says:


    I’m so sorry to hear about your retiring from running, but replacing it with snowshoeing is a great thing. Not only do you get the same familiar great workout feel as running provides, but you are NOT getting the impact that causes joint injury. If you really miss snowshoeing in the off season, you could always bring your snowshoes to the beach. Running in the sand is similar, and it’s definitely a good workout. Enjoy the rest of the snow for this season and maybe we’ll see you on the trails.


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