Learn to Love Snow Running

Dec
11

Posted by Coach Heather Gollnick

We moved to Steamboat Springs Colorado four years ago this December from Florida. I joined the gym and mentally prepared myself for running on the treadmill. I had lived in the Midwest but never spent a lot of time outdoors, as the roads always seemed slick and I feared falling or pulling something and getting injured.

Looking out the window at the beautiful snow glistening in the sun I decided to go out. I bundled up, not dressing at all properly (I kinda looked like I was in the North Pole) but luckily I had layers on. I was on a bike path that wound from our rental to the mountains. I was making fresh footprints in about a foot of snow! It was like I was running on cotton, it was so soft, so forgiving!!!!

I followed the path up to the mountain where I saw skiers gathering, chatting and smiling as they waited in line for the chair lift to open.

I circled back home to shed a few layers then headed back out running next to my tracks to create a fresh set. The time flew, the sun beating down and I was having a blast!

Now, certainly not every run since then in the snow has been so magical, but every time I get out the door I never regret it! Yes, there have been days that it's -5 or days the road seems icy and slippery but for the most part every time I get out the door I am glad, especially as now I have mastered what to wear, and how to prepare.

Since that first time out now I have learned to do the following:

 

1- Always dress in layers. It takes time for the body to warm up especially the colder it is, so have layers to shed before you get too sweaty, around here if we are climbing the layer is nice to put back on before heading downhill, because we don't typically work as hard going downhill.

 

2- Always have the right socks. I use Point6 socks made here in Steamboat. They are amazing! 


Unrivaled performance socks for all sports made of merino wool.

 

3- Take precautions if it is icy. Lean forward, so you don't land on your tailbone if you go down. In icy conditions use Yak Traks (attachable spikes) or Icebug shoes (below) made specifically for the ice.

4 - Hydrate. It's easy to get fooled in the cold but we still need to hydrate even in cold conditions.

 

5 - Refuel. We tend to burn more calories even if our pace may slow as our bodies need to work to stay warm. Get that recovery fuel in your system within 30 minutes. When I’m meeting friends at a trail head away from home I will pre-mix my recovery drink and it’s often the perfect temp or at least not frozen when I get back.

 

Bottom line, cold weather and snow are not an excuse! Get out there and enjoy the change of pace and change of scenery.


 

5x Ironman Champion Heather Gollnick has been actively coaching athletes for over 20 years. Her vast experience racing as a professional athlete in 37 Ironman competitions has helped her successfully coach over 100 Ironman athletes - including 30 of those qualifying for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Heather enjoys working with beginner athletes and focuses specifically on “individualized” plans catered to their lifestyle. If you can't find Heather out on the circuit speaking on her book "Triathlete EQ”, or doing triathlon camps around the U.S., she is likely doing an obstacle race! Heather can be reached at heather@teamMPI.com.

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