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Running on snow (Read 978 times)

Dimitri Minaev


    Every December I know I'm about to limp soon. When the snow falls, my first runs end up with strong pain in calf muscles (mostly soleus, I think). I can run on ice more or less comfortably, but it's the snow that makes me cut my normal distance from 15 to 5-8 kilometers. Cleats don't help. It's rather the unevenness of the snow than its slipperiness that brings the pain. What do you think might help me? Should I just run even less or even slower? Or is there some tricky special running form for the snow (like, no forefoot striking)? Or should I try to strengthen the soleus?

     

    Thanks.

      Do you normally run on roads (smooth surface) or trails (variable surface like snow)?

       

      I'm wondering if foot and ankle strengthening can help? I run mostly trails, and while lumpy snow with no base is slow, it doesn't bring pain.

       

      You may also need to build up your time on snow and/or go by time rather than by distance. If you normally run 1 hr, then maybe start with 30-45min on snow and gradually build. Or like you did, cut back from 15km to 5-8km or less. Give your body time to adapt to the new surface.

      "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

        Actually kind of a timley question with the snowstroms across the country in the last week or so.

        I have had calf soreness the last few days,and it's also the first time I've had to run on uneven surfaces and snow/ice. I have switched over to new shoes,but the same model. I was thinking it was my shoes causing soreness,but maybe not.


        sugnim

          I get sore this time of year from running on snow as well.  I think it's because running on snow uses muscles differently than running on solid ground.  If the snow is deep enough or fresh enough, it can feel like running on sand.  I make sure to stretch well when I finish running, and I do think that strengthening & balancing exercises can help (but I don't do those as often as I should).  I also find that when there is a lot of snow, it's good to go more slowly and take shorter steps.

            I have been running in the snow for the first time this week. I used to make a beeline for the treadmill at the first sign of the white stuff, but I have committed to staying outside as much as possible this winter. It is definitely a tougher workout, as someone said almost like running in the sand. And probably more like trail running (although I have never done it!), since I spend a lot of my time paying close attention to where I am about to step. Hard to generalize as it is a completely different experience whether you are running in deep snow, packed snow, ice, or slush.

             

            However I have seen the benefit that it does slow me down, so keeps me closer to the pace I should probably be at anyway for longer training runs. So in fact I have actually seen some reduction in soreness due to the slower pace.

             

            Also I heard good things about Yaktrax, and put them on my Xmas list. My well-meaning (but not a runner) wife instead bough "Snow Trax" from Costco. Much cheaper I'm sure. Worked great for 2 runs, then some of the steel coils completely broke apart during the 3rd. So don't buy these!!

            Dave


            day after day sameness

              Running on loose (unpacked) snow can be very hard on the legs. You have got to shorten the stride and get your foot strike right under your hip, and be sure that your toe-off (push) is very early.  Run like a geisha walks. It can be hell on the hamstrings.

               

              Yaktrax, screw shoes, and the like are not really good in snow, they earn their keep on ice.

              Choosing my words carefully has never been my strength I've been known to be vague and often pointless


              sugnim

                 Run like a geisha walks. It can be hell on the hamstrings.

                 

                 

                Is this different from walking like an Egyptian?  Also, how does a geisha walk?


                Feeling the growl again

                  I had a college teammate who was pretty good in XC but never ran track.  He always intended to, but within three days of the first snowfall he'd have his hamstrings screwed up and not get them healed until the following June.  Every.  Year.

                   

                  Running on snow/ice works you differently than on clear ground.  If you can handle it without getting injured, you will feel so much stronger in the spring when it is clear and dry again.  But, you have to figure out how not to get injured.

                  "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                   

                    Like just about anybody else, I dislike running on the snow.   I ran a little over 10 miles this morning.  And about 2.5 miles of that run was on snowy bike paths, the rest was on a mixture of snow and concrete.  For the most part today the trails, such as the one pictured below, didn't give me much trouble.  There was about an inch or 2 of snow on them.  In some places it was packed and no real problem, while the loose stuff is more of a workout. Some days I use Yaktrax to get me through it.  They do really improve my grip when I use them.  They can become annoying though when I hit surfaces where they're no longer needed.  I go through the annoying procedure of removing them then. I look forward to when it warms up and all the annoying snow and ice is gone.  I usually face all kinds of conditions, but when it gets below zero around here I stay indoors Sad


                    Needs more cowbell!

                      I've found that running on snow seems to promote some sort of twisting motion with my gait and more than 2-3 runs in snow in a few days time = knee rage.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, for Winter sports folks and drought conditions) we've not had much snow in recent years.

                      I shoot pretty things! ~

                      '14 Goals:

                      • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

                      • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                        Running on loose (unpacked) snow can be very hard on the legs. You have got to shorten the stride and get your foot strike right under your hip, and be sure that your toe-off (push) is very early.  Run like a geisha walks. It can be hell on the hamstrings.

                         

                        Yaktrax, screw shoes, and the like are not really good in snow, they earn their keep on ice.

                         

                        All this.

                         

                        I love running in the snow. Just got back from 11 on snow. It was a nice easy packing snow...so footing was decent...but it definitely took a lot out of me. I forgot how much effort it takes. My lower back is what seems to suffer from the slipping and the sliding...but I still love it!

                          Running on snow can be fun because of the novelty. The looks people give you make you feel like, well yeah I am different. LOL. I would hate it if I had to do it everyday though

                          "The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling." - Lucretius

                          MrH


                             

                            Is this different from walking like an Egyptian?  Also, how does a geisha walk?

                             

                            Walk like a Geisha

                            The process is the goal.

                            Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call Destiny.

                              ....Yaktrax, screw shoes, and the like are not really good in snow, they earn their keep on ice.

                              Actually, the yaktrax with coils can be dangerous on ice around here. The round coils can't dig into the ice, AND they elevate your shoe above the ice, so you lose whatever traction you used to have. The coil yaktrax come off (find them along the trail), and some break. On rare occasion I've used my yaktrax in town, been tooling along, then look down and notice one is missing - never noticed the change in traction between the two feet. Sad  (usually it's not too far back) Various Stabilicer models (Lite and Sport) can also be good on hardpacked snow but lack the depth of kahtoola microspikes.

                               

                              If the snow is packed, screw shoes can help, but kahtoola microspikes work even better, esp. for harder runs,  if the snow has a good base. The yaktrax company has a model that's similar to the Kahtoolas, but I think I've only seen one comment on them.

                              "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                                Take a good look at your running form.  Chances are; you're probably using your ankle/calf a lot more than necessary when you run.  Arthur Lydiard used to classify runners as either a puller and a driver.  I think it's a little more than that but basically puller is the one who "pushes" the ground rather than "kicking" like a driver.  The kicking type (driver) would do fine on track or a hard surface like road or firm cross country.  But they can't run like crap over sandy area or loose gravel or snow because they try to kick and their feet keep sliding/slipping, consequently pulling your Achilles/calf muscles a lot more than necessary.  Shortening your strides is a good advice but, if you still continue to "kick" with shorter strides, it won't solve any issue.  You need to learn to "push" and, that way, you'll use more of your quads, hams and butts.

                                 

                                Lean against the wall and place your hands at shoulder level on the wall; look straight ahead, with your back straight, just keep pushing with your legs on the spot (unless you're so strong you can move the wall!) with your knees not too high up.  Try to "FEEL" how you can push the ground with all your legs, not just with your ankle/calf.  Get the feeling of push, push, push...  If you're flicking your feet backwards, you're kicking.  Your ankles won't even straighten too much.  Once you get the feel, bring that feeling outside and try to get short steps on the snow. Don't kick, or flick your feet.  Concentrate on pushing with your quads, hams and butts...

                                 

                                We were up in Colorado and just got home last night.  We--myself, my wife and our daughter--all went for a nice jog to the coffee shop, had breakfast, took the bus back the day before yesterday.  All the roads are completely covered with snow and ice.  My daughter had been running for a couple of years but not in the condition like that and she asked me how to run on snow and ice.  Shoes with good traction helps; but this is actually a great opportunity to learn to land mid-foot, push with the entire leg, not just flicking your foot.  And keep it slow.

                                 

                                Every December I know I'm about to limp soon. When the snow falls, my first runs end up with strong pain in calf muscles (mostly soleus, I think). I can run on ice more or less comfortably, but it's the snow that makes me cut my normal distance from 15 to 5-8 kilometers. Cleats don't help. It's rather the unevenness of the snow than its slipperiness that brings the pain. What do you think might help me? Should I just run even less or even slower? Or is there some tricky special running form for the snow (like, no forefoot striking)? Or should I try to strengthen the soleus?

                                 

                                Thanks.

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