Technical Snow Running

By | February 23, 2016

Running in the snow?

Running in the snow & smiling? Yeah right

Running in the snow & smiling? Yeah right

This sounds like a nightmare to most and it sounded like one to me too until I tried it.  In Toronto we don’t have the privilege of year round sun like Miami.  We don’t even have year round rain like Vancouver, not that we want that anyways!

One saying that I have always embraced was to take what you have, where you are and do what you can.  This is very true with running in the sense that all you need is a pair of shoes that won’t give you back problems and you are set.

Take what you have, where you are and do what you can.

At first I went out and bought a low quality treadmill from but I soon realized that I hate running on treadmills.  There is something about being out there with nature and blazing a new trail, dodging some roadkill, going somewhere that you never have and just getting out there.  That’s why I love running.

Snow running was inevitable.

Running in snow was something I thought I would never do.  I hate the cold, I have never gotten used to it and I never will but I also hate running on that hamster wheel they call the treadmill.  What could I do?  The city is covered by snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures until May.  I could give up my overeating habits and just stop running. . . buut I like food and running too much so I gave it a shot.

Running will be much harder on a thick layer of snow

Running will be much harder on a thick layer of snow

I went out to the dollar store on the way home from work and grabbed a ski mask and gloves and the next morning I woke up bright and early, put on a t-shirt, a long sleeve, gloves and my ski mask and went for it.

The ground was snowy and slippery, the air was cold and dry and it was horrible for the first 5 minutes, but then I decided to think of it differently.  Something I always love in the summer is hiking and trail running.  Going up or down a mountainside or valley, carefully planning each step.  Where will I place my foot next?  How hard will I put it down? What if that step doesn’t work out, how will I recover?

I decided to treat snow running like technical trail running and it changed my life!  Now i’m not talking about just a half inch of snow, I mean a half foot of snow, chunks of ice, potential potholes and other obstacles.  This was dare I say it, fun.

Sharpening your mind.

Snow running became a part of life for me.  I soon learned to deal with the cold.  Remember I still hate the cold, but I learned to deal with it for 5 minutes until my body warmed up.  Otherwise I was on to something.  Every before bed I looked out my window the same way a snowboarder does just hoping for that fresh powder the next day and when I did see it coming down I rejoiced.

I would be up at 5 a.m sharp ready to take on the world and find the hilliest area around me and just go for it.  Some days I would fall, other days I wouldn’t but the fast paced obstacle course suddenly became the brain-training, limit pushing exercise that I was looking for.

Technical Snow Running

Technical Snow Running

The amount of thinking you need to do, the jolt of adrenaline early in the morning the rush of feeling alive and being one with nature and the big city before most people have even woken up was amazing.

Should you run in the snow?

Just like trail running and other types of technical running are not for all people, snow running is no different.  There are hazards and for some adrenaline junkies like me, that is what gets us out there but we always need to remember that there are real dangers.

There is snow clearing equipment, objects buried beneath the snow could be sharp, blunt, jagged or even alive!  It is a little like swimming with sharks.  You know you shouldn’t be doing it but the rush just keeps you coming back for more!

Bottom line is that if you want to give it a shot you need to be safe.  Make sure you have your health insurance in order just incase.  Keep a cell phone with you and make sure you wear the right shoes and cover your entire body.  Yes that includes that ugly ski mask which makes you look like your about to hold up a convenience store!



Let us know if you snow run and how you do it in the comments below!


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