Top Tips for Running on Snow

I haven’t run in the snow since, well, last winter. I’m pretty sure I forgot how to run in the snow – or I at least forgot how difficult it can be. It took me all of four miles to start to remember, and I felt every step of those miles.

The body is comprised of many different muscles that function in a multitude of extraordinary ways and generally fall into two different functional categories: prime movers and stabilizers. Prime movers are larger muscle groups – such as quads, hamstrings, biceps and triceps – that connect to your bones via tendons and create movement around a joint. The second group is stabilizers and, as implied, have more to do with stabilizing movement than creating it. They are smaller muscles that are often not visible because they are deep under the large surface muscles. Stabilizers help keep bones, joints and muscles correctly aligned both during movement and while you are stationary and also help with things like posture. Stabilizing muscle groups get worked especially hard during a snowy run because you are not only working to move your body, but stay upright as well, especially during slick snow and ice. Smaller stabilizing muscles in your feet, legs, abdomen and upper body all work overtime to not only keep you moving, but to keep you upright. If you don’t run in the snow, you’re missing out! Although difficult, it is absolutely invigorating to get out and get moving in what is often a beautiful winter wonderland. Not to mention, after a few miles in the snow, you will feel like a bada$$! So, give it a try using the tips below.

Top Tips for Running on Snow

  • Run where the snow is not packed. Avoid well packed areas and icy spots to ease muscle strain and prevent falling (no one wants to fall on the ice).
  • Slow down! You are using extra muscles to stay stable in the snow and your body is working harder than you probably realize. Slow down the pace – you’re getting a workout whether you are moving fast or not. Don’t be afraid to mix running with walking intervals as you go.
  • Cut your mileage back when running adjusting to running in the snow. Don’t push yourself to get the same results as you do in the summer; snow running is much more difficult and you may have to reduce your mileage until your body adjusts.
  • Be kind to your body and ease into running in the snow. Let your stabilizer muscles get used to the snow slowly to avoid overuse injuries.
  • Take larger, bounding steps while watching your footing and beware of the terrain.

What are your tips for running in the snow? Let me know in the comments!

Want More?

Find out more about winter running including tips on what to wear and how to stay active no matter how cold it gets outside.

Until the next mile marker,