If you are a runner living in or regularly visiting the Tahoe region, then you know that the winter of 2017 has been, well, arduous, to say the least. While the record levels of snow make for a beautiful winter wonderland, the incessant storms have also made it challenging to keep any kind of training schedule.
My keys to keeping up in these conditions are flexibility and gear. Flexibility applies to location, activity and timing. Investing in some simple gear will help support this flexibility.
Location. As the bare Earth has not been visible for months, I have really had to get creative this year. I have done snowshoe runs at the Nordic ski centers, on snowy paved roads, and on occasion I’ve been so lucky to find runnable conditions on unpacked trail. I have run on treadmills. I have done hill repeats on a quiet one-mill stretch of clear pavement. I have used traction devices to navigate the paved Legacy Trail – see Jenelle’s great post here about plowed bike baths in Truckee. Today I drove to Reno to do a long run on (beautifully clear, dry!) pavement.
Activity. Nordic skate skiing is my winter go-to sport, but skate conditions have not been consistent this winter. Sometimes I cut a ski short in favor of a snowshoe run and sometimes I cancel a planned run for glorious gliding on skate skis. And those days when we can’t get out of the driveway, I resort to a snowshoe hike breaking trail. As long as it supports my training goals, no activity is off the table.
Timing. I’ve had to juggle workouts a lot more than usual with uncertain road and snow conditions. And I’ve found myself struggling to squeeze it all in. Try to schedule extra time for driving and potential change of plans. Sometimes running in the blizzard makes you feel badass and alive. Sometimes it’s just an annoying drag. Figure out which it will be and schedule accordingly.
Gear. Just a few pieces of winter running gear can make a huge difference in comfort and flexibility. All of these items (combined) can be purchased for less than an alpine ski setup. If you expect to do alot of snowshoe running, check Coach Peter’s snowshoe gear list by clicking here.
- Snowshoes, best if running specific. I generally use the Atlas “Run” model.
- Shoe traction devices. These have improved since I first tried various models quite a few years ago. I’m pretty happy with my recent purchase of the kahtoola NANOspikes.
- Hand and toe warmers. I’m really loving the toe warmers this year! Not sure if it’s the relentless nature of this winter or aging, but it seems colder out there this year.
- Storm visor. More commonly seen amongst the Nordic ski set, this device is a plexiglass visor that keeps snow/rain from pelting your face. They are generally over-priced, but still worth every penny, IMHO.
- Waterproof shoes. Not necessary, but they will go a long way in keeping your feet warm.
The rest is all mental… get out there and get after it!