I began running in snowshoes by complete mistake. What a tremendously difficult mistake it turned out to be! Haha! I was looking for a winter race for myself and two of my best friends when I came across the “Snowshoe Shuffle.” The dates were great, the location was great, and the price was on par. I sent a quick email to my friends and all three of us signed up without looking much into the race. About a week later one of my friends looked further into it. I’ll never forget it, “So, Lacey, it looks like we have to wear snowshoes for this race.” WHAT?! I had totally thought “Snowshoe Shuffle” was just a clever name for a race, much like the “Turkey Trot”. Well, I was wrong. Indeed, upon further examination of the website in all the photos EVERYONE was wearing snowshoes. Not only that, in this race you could qualify to Snowshoe Nationals! Yeah, we had our work cut out for us. Of course, by the time we all bought snowshoes and got around to putting them on it was race day. So, our first experience was a 5k. It was memorable to say the least! Since then I’ve only been snowshoeing a few times a year, so I am no expert, but here are 5 things I have learned along the way!
1. Dress in Layers
This is a must! Your body temperature will change from the time you start to the time you finish, by a lot! You want to be well prepared and dressed warm (especially if in the worst case you got injured and had to sit to wait for help), but you also want to be able to shed layers comfortably during your run. Depending on the distance and on how serious of a runner you are I would say wear clothing that can be tied around you easily, or wear a small backpack so you have somewhere to put the cloths as you take them off. If you are a serious runner perhaps invest in some special outdoor winter apparel.
2. Keep your Knees Up
Knees up is the name of the game for snowshoe running! If you don’t you will clip your toes on the snow and you will likely take a snowy face plant! So, just like running drills, keep those knees up!
3. Wear waterproof clothing
Even if you follow tip #2 you are likely to fall, and even if you don’t fall the snow kicked up on your during your race will cover you (see photo). Be prepared by wearing thin snow pants, and a light waterproof jacket, or any waterproof clothing that will keep you dry.
4. Do something, ANYTHING, to keep your feet dry
I personally have not figured this out yet in my running shoes. Lately, I wear my waterproof winter boots when I snowshoe, but I also haven’t been running much. For running you want comfortable running shoes but you also want dry feet. The first year I raced in snowshoes I was not prepared at all and my feet were super cold and soaked, the second year we used plastic bags and it worked alright! If I do another race, you better believe I’ll be looking into water proof socks or shoe covers.
5. Enjoy yourself and don’t expect too much!
Running in snowshoes in HARD WORK! Give yourself credit for trying it, and enjoy the experience! Get crazy and sign up for a race! You may love it and you may vow to never do it again! I know I did, three times…. HA.
I hope these tips are helpful when you go to run in snowshoes! It surely will be something you won’t forget! I know within my first ten awkward steps I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe, and then, 10 steps later I couldn’t breathe because of the hard work! Running in Snowshoes is definitely a fun time and an amazing workout! Try it! Let me know how it goes!
Have tips for me? I’m hoping to do more snowshoeing this year! Leave them in the comments below! Thanks in advance!
Much Love & Happy Travels,