Your new favorite winter sport: snowshoe working

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Winter is a tricky season for runners. If you happen to’re not sliding round on icy or slushy sidewalks, you then’re high-stepping by means of the snow on the paths. The excellent news is, there’s a greater means. If you happen to’re fortunate sufficient to reside close to some snow-covered trails or parks, snowshoe working might be the answer to your winter working struggles. Interested in how one can get began? We spoke with our resident Canadian snowshoe working skilled, Derrick Spafford, to study all the pieces it’s essential know in regards to the sport.

Picture: Rob Whelan

Must you keep away from path working within the winter?

Spafford has been a runner his total life and has achieved all of it — street, monitor, path, and now ultrarunning. He at all times loved path working, however like many others, discovered it difficult within the winter months when the snow coated the bottom at his residence in Yarker, Ont. When he discovered of the existence of working snowshoes, he discovered himself a pair and by no means appeared again.

That was almost 20 years in the past, and on the time, there have been only a few alternatives for snowshoe races in Canada. Spafford determined to place his personal sequence collectively, and the game started to develop. “With the ability to get out on the identical path that you just run all summer season, simply be capable of get again out in nature — it’s a really pure sport,” he says. “If you happen to benefit from the trails, there’s simply no higher strategy to prepare by means of the winter.”

As a bonus, Spafford says working on snowshoes all winter lengthy helps to develop energy that you may take with you into the spring racing season. “Most winters, so long as we had good snow, I’d be doing most of my runs on snowshoes,” he says. “I discovered it helped develop energy so come spring season I used to be stronger for longer races.”

Working vs. snowshoe working

Picture: Greg Leskien

The primary distinction, after all, is that you just’re sporting snowshoes, that are barely heavier and drive you to take a wider stance while you run. “The snowshoes that you just get now are tremendous light-weight,” says Spafford. “They’re narrower, and nothing just like the tennis rackets you used to put on.”

Spafford says most runners discover the transition to snowshoe working to be fairly comfy, however identical to with transferring from the roads to the paths, you need to anticipate to run slower. “If you happen to’re working on the roads, you would possibly be capable of run four-minute kilometres, should you’re working on a path you would possibly decelerate by a minute, should you’re working on snowshoes on a path you would possibly decelerate by one other minute per kilometre,” he says.

Picture: Greg Leskien

He provides, nonetheless, that the kind of snowshoe you’re sporting is necessary. A mountain climbing snowshoe will really feel such as you’re attempting to run in mountain climbing boots, however get your ft right into a pair of running-specific snowshoes (paired with an excellent, water-proof path working shoe) and also you’re more likely to have far more success. “It’ll be like placing on a racing flat,” says Spafford.

Working snowshoes are a bit expensive, however the excellent news is, you need to be capable of put on them for a number of seasons, not like trainers, which have to get replaced a number of occasions per 12 months. A superb pair of working snowshoes will usually price round $250-$350 vary. To study extra about working snowshoes, click on right here.

Tricks to get began

Picture: Rob Whelan

Spafford recommends runners do a little bit of energy coaching earlier than stepping into snowshoe working, since it’s barely extra demanding in comparison with working on the roads. “You’ll be able to simply exit and take a look at it, but when you perform a little prep work forward of time it’ll make it simpler,” he says. Workout routines to strengthen your legs, like squats and lunges work nicely, and he additionally recommends hopping on the elliptical machine on the fitness center, because it does an ideal job at mimicking the movement of snowshoe working.

He additionally suggests beginning out by strolling in your working snowshoes, then progressing to a straightforward jog earlier than getting right into a extra comfy working stride within the first 5 to 10 minutes of your run. “Don’t take into consideration tempo per mile or tempo per kilometre,” says Spafford. “Simply take into consideration going out and getting within the time in your legs.”

For instance, should you usually run 5 kilometres in a day and it takes you half-hour, while you go snowshoe working, goal to run for half-hour, moderately than attempting to hit a particular distance. That offers you the identical sort of exercise you’d get on a standard run.

DION Ontario snowshoe working sequence

Picture: Greg Leskien

4 methods to make use of winter as a coaching software

For any Ontario-area runners who’re fascinated with stepping into snowshoe working, Spafford organizes a sequence of races that takes place in varied places throughout the province each winter. Presently, there are six occasions in areas like Cornwall, Mount Hope and Hammond, Ont., amongst others. Sadly, the following two races within the sequence, which might have taken place in Kingston and Prince Edward County, needed to be cancelled as a consequence of COVID-19, however he hopes the later-season races will nonetheless be capable of happen.

Distances vary from 4 kilometres to 10 kilometres. To study extra or to register, take a look at the web site right here.



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