While many of my friends are jumping for joy for winter, I relish in finding ways to beat Mother Nature. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy and fully appreciate all the seasons we are blessed with up here… it’s just that the other three seasons are significantly BETTER than winter. I find that warmer temps and longer days make most of my outdoor enjoyment easier, longer, and super fun.
As David Goggins says, cold is truly something that occurs in your mind. Think warm and feel warm. So barring SUPER cold temps, you will find me smiling on a run in shorts down to 30 degrees, 20 degrees (with sunshine), and even snow. I find pride (and a fair amount of humor) in seeing the looks on people’s faces that see me run past them in their earmuffs, fuzzy snow boots, and puffy jackets. Besides, it helps keep that base layer tan going all year long (an often overlooked, but no less important aspect of any ultra runner).
As I may have mentioned, I am a bit of a creature of habit. Therefore the snow covering my favorite trails forces me to branch out a bit and go drive to some lower elevations to muddy my Salomons and help break this cycle. You will actually be surprised by how little time it takes to get into some good dirt. Carson City, Reno, and Auburn are all viable options. Also, a little snow covering some of our paved bike paths can be a fun alternative as well. Just this morning I broke trail on the Legacy with a couple inches of snow. Although I can run this trail blindfolded by now, the fresh snow covering made it feel like a whole new trail.
What I Wear for Winter Running
- Salomon trail running shoes – shop men’s or shop women’s
- Lightweight running gloves
- Salomon Bonatti Waterproof Pants
- Running shorts (okay fine, you can use them at the gym)
Mix Up Your Routine and Avoid Burnout
Winter also provides an opportunity to give the legs a rest and beat them up another way. As long as you are driven indoors, it’s not a bad idea to make the best of this bad situation. I have been using the indoors to wear my shorts, get inside to do some strength training, and substitute some of my cardio with a spin class or three. Mixing up the routine has many benefits, including giving the mind a break from running so as to avoid burnout…. Even if burnout isn’t all that likely, you’ll build an excitement to hit the trails on the weekend.
When All Else Fails, Strap on a Pair of Snowshoes
Another great wintertime option is snowshoe running. This is a brilliant way to feel really really fast later on when you are running on trails. There is a fair bit of disagreement as to how much harder it is to run with snowshoes and what the distance ratio should be compared to running. But all that really matters is it will kick your butt, but also get you out into some really cool areas for a little different view as compared to summer conditions. You can use most of your typical cold-weather clothing for this and just need to pick up a simple pair of running snowshoes. I would recommend wearing waterproof running pants as well as waterproof shoes and gaiters. I have been using my Salomon Ride GTX for shoes and a pair of Salomon S/Lab Bonatti pants that are perfectly breathable and, most importantly, waterproof.
Gear List for Snowshoe Running
- Running snowshoes
- Winter running pants – TMS favorites are from Craft and Salomon
- Waterproof trail running shoes
No matter which of these you choose, just keep moving and make the best of winter. But if you still get the winter blues, rock some shorts, run in some snow… and I guarantee you WILL run faster!
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TMS Ambassador – Steve Buelna is an avid runner, (whether trails or pavement, he doesn’t discriminate) living in Truckee, CA. Follow @_buelna_ on Instagram for photos of his adventures on foot or on BMW GSA1250 Adventure Bike, anywhere either will take him. In addition to Tahoe Mountain Sports, Steve is also a Koda Nutrition USA Ambassador and Big Blue Adventure Ambassador as well as the leader of the “Newbies” Run Club for Donner Party Mountain Runners.