1) ENJOY IT
Looking out of my window today even a couple big ugly buildings in front of me look like beautiful wedding cakes. Everything looks pretty in the snow, it’s like living in a brand new town. Get out and explore
2) GET DECENT FOOTWEAR.
I’ll sometimes wear Seal Skin socks, which although your feet get sweaty, it keeps the snow and ice out. Wear shoes that have great grip on them to help you move confidently through the snow, rather than slipping on your backside. My trusty Merrells have served me well in Outer Mongolia in Winter, in the High Arctic as well as the hills and streets of the UK. If the snow gets super-deep- you could consider putting show shoes or skis on
3) DRESS FOR THE CONDITIONS
Wrap up like an onion! Lots of thin layers that you can peel on and off are much better than one thick layer. Gloves and something that covers your ears (for example a buff, or a hat) are essential – as your fingers and ears are the areas that get cold first
4) TAKE YOUR PHONE AND SOME MONEY
Your phone battery lasts less long in the cold. Charge it fully before you head out. Most phones have incredible cameras on them now, great to capture those snowy pictures we see on social media all the time. A few quid can be just the thing to nip into a local cafe for a hot chocolate or grab a bite to eat. Running in the snow uses up way more energy than running normally
Some like it hot, but if you’re anything like Scottish ultra runner Dr. Andrew Murray, well you like it cold, very cold. A two-time Genghis Khan Ice Marathon champion, Murray has braved temperatures as low -35oC, glided across a frozen river network and evaded packs of wild wolves all to win titles. Feel a bit more silly about not running in the snow now?
Dr. Andrew Murray is a Scottish ultra-marathon runner, GP, health advisor to the Scottish Government and Merrell ambassador.
He has completed challenges including a 4,300km run from far north Scotland to the Sahara desert, 7 ultra-marathons on the 7 different continents in under a week, and with Donnie Campbell the first run across the mighty Namib desert and a run across East Africa. Race wise, he’s placed first in the North Pole Marathon, the Antarctic Ice Marathon, the Genghis Khan Ice Marathon, the Gobi Challenge, the Indo Jungle Ultra, and races closer to home, whilst also competing for Scotland in various events.
Snow Running Tips from Ieuan Thomas and Tom Marshall
1. Layers, layers, layers!
The extra cold temperature that comes with these snowy conditions means it’s much harder to warm up your body to perform at it’s best. That’s why you can’t really have too many layers when you start your run. We’d recommend a tight baselayer, a good quality midlayer, and then a jacket to finish as an absolute minimum. You can always layer down if you’re overheating when you get going. Gloves and a warm hat are essentials too! Plus if the snow is really coming down, sunglasses can be a surprisingly good addition.
2. Trail Shoes > Road Shoes
When it comes to snow packed pavements, you need a shoe that is going to give you the absolute best grip possible. The lugs on trail shoes offer much better grip against uneven and slippery terrain, so are a safer option! The Sacuony Razor Ice is the best possible option if you have them!
3. Carefully plan your route!
When it comes to running in the snow, planning is essential. Main roads and pavements where there’s consistent foot traffic are always the best options because these are more likely to be gritted and offer a solid grip. If this isn’t an option, try and stay away from steep downhill sections. The last thing you want is to take a slip and slide the rest of the way down the slope!
4. Treadmills aren’t the worst option
If your local gym is open then the treadmill may be the best option, especially if you have get in an interval session. My favourite session for on the treadmill is 3x3km off 2 minutes recovery. Most treadmills get up to 20km/h so you can still get the pace without worrying about the slip and slide conditions outside! (Just make sure the snow isn’t so bad that you can’t get back home!) There’s even apps such as Zwift which will allow you to train in a virtual world whilst on the treadmill and interact with other runners whilst you do it.
Ieuan Thomas and Tom Marshall are Saucony UK athletes who will represent Wales at the Commonwealth Games. Both are regular cross country runners.