What do you wear running in the snow?

Running in the snow is one of my favorite things. I know for most folks this sounds a little weird. And it takes a little bit of faith in your gear. But trust, me, it’s totally worth it.

Here is a list of the key elements to add to your snow running kit. I’ll explain after.

  • Trail running shoes that have aggressive tread and breathable/non-mesh upper. Your local running store will know what to have you try.
  • Katoolha Nanospikes
  • Breathable running jacket that has water-resistant sections on the shoulders, at least
  • Some sort of inner pocket in your jacket or inner layer to keep your phone warm.
  • A ziplock bag for your phone.

Ok, why these items.

If your shoes are mesh, snow will go right through. Your feet will be wet and cold in no time. If your have an older pair of trail running shoes with still aggressive tread, you can put duct tape over the mesh and hit the snowy trails

The Nanospikes are just in case. If you are out running right after or during a snowfall, the tread on your shoes should bit in just fine with little to no slippage. If the snow has been on the ground for a day or two or if the trail/path is very heavily used, you can end up with patches of ice. Think it through. Be prepared for some trial and error. Note that the Nanospikes don’t bite really well on non-ice. Don’t fret just think it through and be cautious.

Why Nanospikes and not YakTrax? YakTrax are coils on rubber. They don’t bite into ice well at all. There are IceBug brand shoes where metal bits are permanently in the tread of the shoe. But, like all shoe choices, they fit some people and not others. They could be worth a try.

If you are running in falling snow, the water resistant jacket is pretty key. If it’s bluebird, you can wear any breathable running jacket.

Ok, the phone things. When batteries, like the one in your phone, get too cold, the juice is drained VERY quickly. No more pictures, digital maps…nothing. But if you put it in an inside pocket without a moisture proof barrier, like a plastic baggie, you will sweat your phone to death. At a minimum, the camera lens will be sweat-covered. Better safe than sorry. Nothing fancy needed.

And remember…you don’t have to pile on the layers if the sun is out, the winds are down, and the temps are 25deg or above. YOU WILL GET REALLY WARM. This is the having faith in the gear part. Watch a movie or two about climbing Everest and you’ll see mountaineers sweating out of their suits when the sun comes out and the winds die down. As always start chilled, not cold. Remove or add layers accordingly. Trial and error.

Friends, feel free to add your favorite tricks and tools in the comments.

More in a future post about dressing for runs in REALLY cold temps. Till then…

Basic gear list for a long trail run of 40 degress & up

equipment for a long trail run

Like a lot of folks, I was a long-time hiker before I became a trail runner. What really needs to be in my tiny runner’s pack to feel secure in the back country?

Here is my go-to list. Below it I’ll explain the choices.

Basic Long Trail Run Equipment List If Temps Are About 40+

  • Osprey 1.5L or 2L water bladder
  • Osprey Dyna 15L Running Pack
  • Patagonia Houdini with hood
  • SOL Emergency Bivy
  • Trango Piranha knife
  • Climber/athletic tape (not the whole roll)
  • lip balm with at least 30 spf
  • maxi pad (guys too)
  • Sawyer Squeeze System
  • whistle (not shown)
  • food (not shown)
  • iPhone 8 (taking the picture) with GaiaGPS and Strava

The over-arching logic is that when trail running you are moving faster and more efficiently than when you are hiking. You are almost always moving so you don’t get nearly as cold. You’re on the trail a fraction of the time. You dont’ stop for long periods of time–you have places to go!

Here are some specifics of why these items are on the list.

  • Climber tape and the maxi pad are the first aid kit. The pad is a highly absorbant bandage that can be cut down if needed. It weighs nothin and is super cheap. The climber/athletic tape holds the ‘bandage’ in place and can be used in dozens of other ways for first aid as well as repairing gear.
  • If I’m heading out on a trail where I know there will be regular water sources, I take only about 1L of water and refill as necessary using the Sawyer Squeeze System. If there is ANY DOUBT about the water sources, I bring up to two full liters depending on temps and where i’m heading.
  • There are dozens and dozens of packs avalable. Pick one that fits you. I like the plethora of pockets and expandable space that cinches down nicely.
  • The Houdini works well as a extra breathable layer for warmth, a wind barrier, and deflecting light rain or snow-it is NOT waterproof. I have other waterproof jackets for potentially raining outings.
  • The bivy is the key safety tool. If you have to stop or slow to a walk due to injury or illness, your body temperature will plummet. The bivy will keep you warm enough until help arrives or as a wrap for a slow walk out. I never go far from a trailhead without it.
  • The knife is about as tiny a knife as you can buy. A knife is always handy.
  • Lip balm with a decent spf is sunscreen if you are out too long and need to reapply.
  • A whistle s standard emergency gear that weighs nothing.
  • Food will vary depending on your outing.
  • Your smart phone is endlessly useful. More on that another time.

In a future post I’ll cover cold weather adaptations and extra gear. Till then…

Looking for running partners in Albuquerque

woman stands next to the Blue Lakse Pass sign below mt. sneffels
Albuquerque-based trail runner seeks running partners for mountain and canyon adventure outings

I am looking for Albuquerque-based running partners for any or all of this list.

  • training partner for the 2018 Moab Trail Marathon on Nov 3, 2018
  • 6am-ish regular running partner in Albuquerque around the Nob Hill / University area. I’m happy to run on trails like the path around the UNM North Golf Course, on the streets, through campus…I’m not picky. I just need someone to be my conscience for pre-dawn outings.
  • weekend long mountain trail runs within a day’s drive of Albuquerque…I’ll happily run in the Sandias, Manzanos, Jemez, Sangre de Cristos, San Juans, pretty much any range – time and weather permitting
  • weekend long desert runs…Petroglyph National Monument, Ojito Wilderness, Chaco Canyon, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, options are endless -time and weather permitting

If you are interested in possibly joining me, please email me.

What do I wear for cold weather running?

woman runs in snow in winter running clothes

Bottom line…don’t over think it. There will be a bit of trial and error before you find your go-to clothing combos. Here are a few overarching concepts to get you started.

  1. Start a bit cold…not absolutely freezing. If you are wondering if you should really start in the puffy or pullover, wear it. In about 10 minutes of running, you’ll pretty much know what clothes will work for the rest of the run. You won’t die if you have to wrap the jacket around your waist for the rest of that day’s run.
  2. Keep a log. Record the temperature, other weather conditions, what you ended up wearing for most of the run, and other notes like “this jacket would have been perfect if the sleeves zipped off” or “my fingers were really cold in gloves; I should try mittens”. You won’t have to do this long before you figure out your basics.
  3. Layer-up but keep’em thin. You will be shocked at how much heat and sweat your body still puts off even when temps plummet. If you keep the layers thin, you’ll be able to make mini-adjustments. If you wear a wool sweater or the puffy you would normally wear standing still in those temps, you’ll have a huge temperature drop if you take them off.
  4. You don’t need to start with the expensive stuff. Target and Walmart both have very inexpensive options that you can wear while you figure things out. If you decide running in the cold is going to be a thing for you, then invest. More on that in future post…

Sample Cold-weather Running Clothes Combinations for Women

These are what I generally wear as a 5’2″, 120lb, 47 year old female, living at 5000ft in Albuquerque. Your experiences may differ.

50+ degrees

  • running shorts
  • sports bra
  • wicking synthetic shortsleeve shirt
  • thin SmartWool socks
  • Saucony Peregrine 8 trail running shoes

40-50 degrees

  • running shorts or light running capris
  • sports bra 
  • wicking long sleeve shirt with thumb holes and a hood
  • wicking synthetic shortsleeve shirt
  • thin SmartWool socks
  • Saucony Peregrine 8 trail running shoes

32-40 Degrees

  • long running tights
  • sports bra
  • wicking long sleeve shirt with thumb holes and a hood (I’m a huge fan of the Voormi River Run Hoodie but make sure you’re going to be running all winter-it’s awesome but pricey)
  • wicking synthetic shortsleeve shirt (i don’t have a preference)
  • thin SmartWool socks
  • Saucony Peregrine 8 trail running shoes
  • possibly a running vest – I wear the Patagonia Nano-Air vest
  • something to cover your ears-I wear a merino Buff

25-32 degrees

  • winter weight long running tights
  • possibly a running skirt-this goes over your tights
  • sports bra
  • thermal running shirt with a 1/4 zip
  • a running vest – I wear the Patagonia Nano-Air vest
  • a breathable running jacket – I wear a Patagonia Houdini with a hood
  • high ankle, thicker SmartWool running socks
  • Saucony Peregrine 8 trail running shoes
  • something to cover your ears-I wear a merino Buff

Super cold conditions to come…

3 tips for moving like a barefoot runner while in the safety of shoes

Ok. I admit it. I’m too delicate a flower to run barefoot in the land of cactus and endless tiny pebbles, aka Albuquerque. I need my tootsies to be protected.

But, I do want to use barefoot running techniques while safely in my shoes. Here are three things that could help you strike with your forefoot instead of your heel.

  1. Say to yourself , “Float.”. I know it sounds silly but it works for me. You don’t stomp through a field of daisies, you tiptoe…you float. Move lightly and purposefully. Try to make first contact with the balls of your feet then feel your toes engage. Land gently. Float.
  2. Engage your core. Pull back your belly button and roll your pelvis forward. If you’ve ever done yoga, this guidance would be familiar. In running, it helps you land your feet closer to your center, shortening your stride. You’ll naturally hit your forefoot first.
  3. Roll back your shoulders. Literally, roll you shoulders forwards, up and towards your back, gently squeezing together your shoulder blades. Yup, this is another yoga thing. It works. You’ll stand straighter and have the benefit of breathing easier.

What is the best tool for making a treadmill workout interesting?

Videos. On your phone, tablet, laptop. That is the only way I survive time on the dreadmill. Here is a list of some of my favorite things to watch while churning out any interval, hill, or timed treadmill workout.

How to Run 100 Miles

-The fabulous films by Kerry Ward, an ultrarunner who takes you to the Grand Canyon, Bigfoot, runs in parks in Hawaii, etc. Anything on his YouTube channel fulltiltward

The Salomon Trail Running Channel

Billy Yang Films Like ‘The Unknown: The Hardrock 100’ He has a bunch more.

Shorebreak (Not running related but a great photography/surfing series and you need Outside TV or something like that)