Running in snow




Just going for a run...

Oh look another snow thread - actually what got to me was that the first link is just bad advice. Maybe we should just wrap ourselves up in cotton wool.


  • I think it is ok to run in snow if it is a thin layer.  We had approx 8" over the last few days and I feel that is too hazardous to run on.  My fear is slipping on an ice patch and being laid up for weeks even months with an injury when I could have stayed in and waited it out.  Even if you don't slip you could injur yourself by not running properly.

     Having said that I don't loke staying in at all and I got out all last winter when it was frosty but dry but no snow.  I am climbing the walls because i can't get out, so I have joined a local gym so I can keep running safely.  I know its not the same as outside running but its better than risking an injury.

    The articles give some good advise but i personally don't want to run the risk of injury.

  • I am still going out despite the snow. What I don't like is how tough it is on the legs, and that I can't go very fast, even maintaining 8minmile pace is quite difficult.
  • I'm a plodding beginner and just had a quite underwhelming 5-miler in snow of varying depth up here in York. I'd meant to try tempo running but kept stumbling when trying to go faster, developed my first blister, and found it hard work on my ankles. Surprisingly found it harder than the pre-Christmas sheet ice on the pavements.

    Still, at least I got out! image
  • I've just got back from a run on the icey pavements and through the snow covered woods.

    It was the most pleasent run I've probably ever had!

    Last week I brought some YakTrax shoe attachments (after someone mentioned them here) to stop me from sliding about, and they certainly do the trick. Feels so comfy when your foot touches down on the snow, I love it.
  • My dad texted me last night telling me there's -32 back at home.
    Now that I think is too cold to run in. (Maybe)
    I'm Going next month....Couple of meters of snow, -15 I can still handle. There's life and physical activity in snowy countries as well, world doesnt just stop for the sake of a bit of cotton wool on the ground.
  • I find running in the snow great it's good for forceing you to lift your legs high burns more callories.

    It's when the snow gets compacted you have to be careful coss you could quite easily twist an ankle bad times . If all els fails I get the rowing machine out and spend an hour rowing across the sea.

    Just take precautions and a phone and enjoy the beautiful views Happy days image

  • I think that people are looking for excuses not to run here. I have run every day in the snow, exellent resistance training for lower legs and the cushioning is protecting my shin splints. When it does melt I will be off like a rocket.
  • Same here, it's a great workout and not really any more hazardous then normal running as long as you pick your routes and footing carefully. It is harder on the calves and ankles (as already mentioned on several threads) but you can still go fast in it and do long distance as long as the conditions are appropriate.
  • Just a word of warning about running in the snow and ice.  I attended the funeral today of my wifes 16yr old cousin who died while slipping on the ice and banging his head. All he was doing was walking delivering christmas cards.  I'll be sticking to the treadmill until the thaw. So please be careful when running outside at the moment.
  • Hi folks,

    Thanks for those links above, finally got the courage to go out for a run (south west london). Wore my XT Wings trail shoes, pair of shorts, short sleeve top with a wind stopper jacket on top. It was a totally AWESOME run was very proud of myself image 

    Did a total of 10.5km in 54mins. 75% of my route was snow (1-2 inches) and ice. The rest was normal pavement. Had very few issues slipping. Decided to leave my ipod at home so I could concentrate on where I was stepping!

    The ice was more 'crunchy' (like slush puppy image) than slippery which helped, it was only when crossing side road junctions where compacted ice from cars I took extra care. You can tell from the street lights where the black ice was as its more shiny and could easily dodged them.

    It was a fantastic run, jacket kept me cosy and warm......only been running for just over a year, loved it!

    jwill: Sorry to hear that story, everything we do in life carrys a certain amount of risk so do take care people. 

  • I am certainly not one for making excuses and get out in all weathers.  Round my way the snow is very compacted and very slippy, therefore I feel it is too dangerous round my way to go out.  When the snow is fresh and untouched it is very soft and good to run on but compacted, in my opinion, is too dangerous.  Just a shame cos the views are excellent this time of year.
  • I thought that I was being silly when I first went for a run in the snow, came here and found that I was normal. Which made me feel better. I'm glad that there is enough advice here to get me out running in the snow and even ice. I do take it easy though as I'm not altogether that confident, though when I did some hill work I found snow and ice as good as wet chalk that it normally is. 
  • When the temps are consistently well below freezing, packed snow is very pleasant to run on.  It's not really slippy and provides a degree of cushioning that hard pavements does not - great to avoid shin splints.  Problems come when the surface is melting or if the pathway/ road has been gritted, where you have a relatively hard and smooth lower surface which the melting snow can slip on.

    If you are running in deeper snow, watch out for underlying potholes etc. As a precaution, I tape my ankles with physio tape when running in snow, just to avoid the possibility of a major ankle sprain. One other benefit to snow is that it makes running at night much easier because the reflectivity increases ambient light, and everything looks a bit prettier.  And that's much nicer than being subjected to the grim heat and soft porn around a gym dreadmill.

  • Hi everybody. I have been running for twenty years. So i'm not new to running but i'm definately new to this forum. I stumbled across this thread and found it pretty interesting. What sort of techniques and gear have people been using? i was really stuggling with my road sheos so i went to my local shop to see what they said. I ended up with walking out with some Mizuno wave ascends which are great on the snow due to their grip and water resistant outer, the shop also just got in these clips that you put staight onto you shoes to provide you with traction. I was thinking of buying a pair, has anybody tried these micro spikes? cheers, Joe .

    here is the shops web site which has the spike things featured

    also i noticed that they have a section which gives you advice for running in the snow on their facebook page

  • I have just bought some snow grips, a bit like Yaktrax, on line.  I got them from Betterware of all places and only a tenner.  Not sure whether they are any good but I guess I'll find out soon.  Like I said earlier I am eager to get out and enjoy the views and running in the gym is soooooooooo boring.  To be honest I never new there where such things as snow grips for running shoes, I'm looking forward to getting out when they arrive. 
  • I've been wearing my cross country spikes to run to work in.
  • Very much appreciating the tips and the fact that fellow runners are looking out for each other... yes we must all take extra care and judge our individual running conditions.

     Went for a run yesterday, I'm in the countryside in Oxfordshire so we've got lots of deep snow at the moment but running on the compacted snow with the views mid afternoon was one of the most enjoybale runs I've ever done....I'm so glad I didn't have to miss a session and I think it's done an ongoing injury of mine some good as well!!

  • Somebody asked about gear, and this includes for me running after dark in streets and countryside in snow, on ski trails. It's only when it's been really cold recently (-15 to -20C) that I've had to put a lot of layers on. Even then my core gets hot after a couple of miles and I have to pull a few zips, the hands get warm enough to fold back the mitt flaps, and feet stay warm:

    • Princeton Tec headlight to show up any ice or polished spots
    • Headband to keep ears warm, hold in one earphone
    • Optionally a hat
    • Buff, optionally pulled over head
    • Helly Hansen LIFA or Craft longsleeved base layer
    • Berghaus longsleeved top with short zip (not a thick fleece)
    • New Line thin zipped running jacket
    • Salewa Tour windstopper gloves with mitt-flap
    • Longjohns from M&S or Helly Hansen or Craft windfont briefs
    • Optionally "The Hand" or sports support to keep the dangly bits close to my body
    • Long running or skiing trousers, such as Ron Hill, Salomon, Craft
    • Light trekking socks
    • Spiked shoes, such as Icebug MR or MR2
    Looks more than it feels - there is not much weight there, and it's more than sufficient and keeps my warm for up to half-m distance in the indicated range.
  • Went running a moment ago in Warrington and although it looks treacherous I felt it was quite comfortable. The compacted snow wasn't too slippy and if you be careful crossing the roads (i decided to walk cross most of them) you should be okay; just use your common sense, and if it's getting too much; stop and run back.

    I would recommend, if your not kitted out with specialist snow spikes etc, you keep it slow and short.

  • Yes, I noticed ca few people mention xc spikes for running in snow in. I think spikes make the difference. Someone round here has spent an age clearly snow from paths. Now the pathe are just black ice. Going off road seems to be the better option.

    I have to admit, I thought that I was mad running in the snow, but like others, I found it a really good experience. I actually walked / ran 18 miles just because I was enjoying being out.

    On another matter - the gym and the dreadmill, went to the gym as I wanted to go swimming, and I spent 15 mins on the infernal thing. I found breathing so hard. I got out of breath even though I was only running at 12-13k. Is it the lack of oxygen in the gym that makes it feel so hard do you think? esp as it's so cold, does that mean the air is carrying more oxygen at the moment? Or is it the lack of trees in the gym? Just curious.

  • Here's a link to a cheaper option than Yaktraxs Grips/ice grips.htm
  • I couldn't go without any longer this morning, and headed out into the snowy forest. There was still 6-8 inches of untouched, frozen snow covering everywhere, but I found a nice track with compacted land rover tracks. Really nice to run on and didn't feel slippery at all.

    Even though I felt like I was running quite freely, it still slowed me down. The -5 temperature probably didn't help with speed either, but it didn't feel very cold. 

    Anyway - it was still one of the most enjoyable, refreshing runs I've had in a while. Did 7 miles and looking forward to 10 at the weekend image

  • Bikermouse I had the same experience.  Only joined the gym this week because I didn't feel confident enough without spikes to go for a run in the snow and ice.  I found that mentally it is a lot tougher as i get bored a lot quicker and I seem to get more out of breath as well.  Maybe its just that we notice it more in the gym because there is nothing else to concentrate on.  Outside there are a lot more things going on to take your mind off things.
  • Devoted2Distance wrote (see)

    Cheers Paul - only the L size left though?

    As I understand it size L is size 7 to 13.

  • Getting from my house to a a park on frzen pavements was tough - and a bit slippery - once in deeper snow of a local park - just hard work! Harder then I expected - and needed quite a bit of concentration on not falling over (no letting the mind wander) - but was beautiful, and nice to get the body moving...

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