Snowshoe Running Tips


Looking for a great way to cross train this winter?  Try snowshoe running.

Here is what you need to know to get  started:

  1. There is a difference between Run Snowshoes and regular snowshoes. The binding system on run snowshoes is designed for the twisting and turning of running and the snowshoes are  both smaller and lighter. If you can find somewhere to rent or borrow run snowshoes do it. If you plan to do more, buy some. There are Run Snowshoes and Race Snowshoes. The race are a little lighter but they are also more expensive. Unless you are really serious go with the run.
  2. You will get snow all over your legs and probably your back as well. Gaiters help but bring a complete set of dry clothes so you can change after your run.
  3. Don’t wear winter boots. Trail runners or winter running shoes with wool socks are your best bet.
  4. Tie the bindings tightly. If you don’t your snowshoes will fall off and putting them on in the middle of the woods is a pain.
  5. Dress in layers you can remove so you don’t overheat. Two light jackets is better than one heavy one.
  6. Wear breathable wicking fabrics, NOT COTTON.
  7. Don’t sweat it if you end up walking up the hills, you are still getting a great workout!
  8. Go with friends and tell someone where you are going. It’s unlikely you will get lost in the light but it gets dark early in the winter.
  9. Bring a headlamp just in case.
  10. Poles are not used in snowshoe running.

Want to try racing? If you live in the Ottawa area try Mad Trapper Racing at The Ark , friendly competition, runners of all levels, great food, and beer!

A few racing hints:

  1. Expect it to take you at least 50% longer, if not twice as long,  to run snowshoe a distance vs. running it on pavement.
  2. It’s really hard to pass other racers. So start where you think you belong and be kind to the people behind you, if they catch up pull over and let them pass.
  3. Night races are amazing! Make sure you have a good headlamp and extra batteries. It’s beautiful and peaceful in the woods alone at night (snowshoe racing is not a crowded sport).

3 Thoughts

  1. Tip#4: “Tie the bindings tight”, but not TOO tight. Over the years I’ve seen people really reef on the bindings. They weren’t going anywhere, but neither was the blood circulation to the toes! So make sure the bindings are secured snugly, but don’t overdo it. Especially if you are just wearing running shoes and if it’s colder outside.

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