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Tips for slick surface runs? (Read 802 times)


RunsWithDog

    What are some general guidelines for running on slick surfaces?

     

    I ran in 1 to 2 inches of slush/snow today, and I realized that I really need some better idea of how to run in these conditions.

     

    The surface was so slick and slippery that I had several observations/concerns:

     

    1) My HR and perceived effort was very high compared to my pace. I was intending a slow-end easy run today, and I did that (13 mm!) but I was working my butt off the entire run. It FELT like a hard run, and my HR reflected that. How much do others find you have to slow down to account for slick conditions?

     

    2) Should I screw some shoes or get yak trax? Just get a pair of "trail shoes" with better traction? Which is better?

     

    3) My toes were soaked and feet cold and numb from mile 1 due to the slush. I'm thinking that "trail shoes" that are Goretex or something like that would be good. What do you think? (I am running in Brooks Ghosts.) If I get trail shoes (presumably Brooks's neutral trail shoe, as Brooks shoes seem to work well for me), do I need to "transition" into them, or am I safe to do 5-8 miles the first run? (I fucked up my feet in three measly miles in a pair of Brooks Pure Flows this summer, so I am nervous, lol.) If I need to transition for a shoe like that, how fast can I do it (without significant risk)? I'm guessing I'd use them for probably half my runs over the winter months, then sporadically the rest of the year for actual trail runs (maybe once a week the rest of the year).

     

    4) Do you find any particular posture/form approaches help deal with slick surfaces? I found that envisioning my knees lifting (using butt/quads instead of calves) was helpful to me, but I am wondering if there are other more tried/tested approaches to this that I could try next time. (I expect a lot of next times, lol. Winter is just starting!) (I'm generally a high cadence - midfoot landing - upright posture runner, having been taught good form by my PT, who is an excellent runner, when I first kept hurting myself, lol, so I think I've got reasonably good general running posture, but am more wondering if there are particular things to focus on that could help with these conditions.)

     

    5) My calves were really feeling it this run! Is that common in slick conditions, and, if so, what can I do to minimize that? It made me nervous, as I have run into AT tendonitis type issues in the past, triggered by running with tight/crampy calves, so I try to avoid that now as much as possible. (I stopped, stretched, massaged a bit, and those things did help manage it, but I'd rather PREVENT it if possible.)

     

    Thanks much!!!!!

    PRs: 10k 57:30, HM 2:11:12, Full 5:02:57

    Next Up: HM 1/6/13 & Marathon #3 3/24/13

    Training Plan Right Now: Hansons Brothers Beginner Marathon Plan

      I run in snow quite often. I'm only going to chime in on number 3 though, others are more qualified and familiar with the other points.

      Get wool socks. I prefer smartwool socks, but any brand you prefer will be fine. With wool, even when they're wet, they will still be warm. I've logged a lot of miles this winter with sopping wet feet, and had no issues whatsoever, so long as I had on wool socks.

      Brooks Pure line will be awful for the snowy, slick surfaces. The pure grit is great when it's dry, but get em wet and watch out. However, their cascadias are great for it. If you're already running in the Ghosts, the cascadias will be a great fit. (My primary shoes are Ghost 5's and Cascadia 7's) They have a similar fit.

       

      There's lots of discussions going on all over the forums and user groups about snow running. Most seem to not care for it.

      I love it personally. Snow means that everyone else will be staying inside and I get the roads, trails and muti-use path all to myself.

      I really love running in fresh powder, just for the way it crunches under your feet. I love looking for footprints in the snow, to see if anyone else is as crazy as I am to be out.

      and also, for me, running in the snow means I'm a real runner.

        I've been running through Canadian winters for 23 years so will throw in my 2 cents.

         

        1) My HR and perceived effort was very high compared to my pace. I was intending a slow-end easy run today, and I did that (13 mm!) but I was working my butt off the entire run. It FELT like a hard run, and my HR reflected that. How much do others find you have to slow down to account for slick conditions?

        I just run by feel and don't worry about how much I have to slow down.  The conditions any particular day will dictate pace and I just have to live with the sluggish times.

         

        2) Should I screw some shoes or get yak trax? Just get a pair of "trail shoes" with better traction? Which is better?

        I have done both screw shoes and trail shoes and found them to be about the same.  They help but it's still not like running on bare rods.  I haven't tried yak trax.

         

        3) My toes were soaked and feet cold and numb from mile 1 due to the slush. I'm thinking that "trail shoes" that are Goretex or something like that would be good. What do you think? (I am running in Brooks Ghosts.) If I get trail shoes (presumably Brooks's neutral trail shoe, as Brooks shoes seem to work well for me), do I need to "transition" into them, or am I safe to do 5-8 miles the first run? (I fucked up my feet in three measly miles in a pair of Brooks Pure Flows this summer, so I am nervous, lol.) If I need to transition for a shoe like that, how fast can I do it (without significant risk)? I'm guessing I'd use them for probably half my runs over the winter months, then sporadically the rest of the year for actual trail runs (maybe once a week the rest of the year).

        I try to avoid running in slushy conditions because of the wet feet issue and have not tried Gortex shoes.  Most of the winter I am running on packed or fluffy snow and stay dry.   If you get more wet, slushy conditions where you are, maybe the Gortex is a good idea.  Nothing worse than cold, wet feet!

         

        4) Do you find any particular posture/form approaches help deal with slick surfaces? I found that envisioning my knees lifting (using butt/quads instead of calves) was helpful to me, but I am wondering if there are other more tried/tested approaches to this that I could try next time. (I expect a lot of next times, lol. Winter is just starting!) (I'm generally a high cadence - midfoot landing - upright posture runner, having been taught good form by my PT, who is an excellent runner, when I first kept hurting myself, lol, so I think I've got reasonably good general running posture, but am more wondering if there are particular things to focus on that could help with these conditions.)

        I think that most runners naturally change to more of a forefoot strike in slippery conditions to help avoid falling.  That and being careful (slow) when it's slippery seems to work for me - although I have gone down a couple of times.

         

        5) My calves were really feeling it this run! Is that common in slick conditions, and, if so, what can I do to minimize that? It made me nervous, as I have run into AT tendonitis type issues in the past, triggered by running with tight/crampy calves, so I try to avoid that now as much as possible. (I stopped, stretched, massaged a bit, and those things did help manage it, but I'd rather PREVENT it if possible.)

        I'm going to guess you were more on your toes because of the conditions which could cause the calf issues.  I also think that having less traction in the slippery conditions contributes to this.  I would think this will improve as the winter progresses and you get used to it.  You also may have unconsciously tensed up because of the conditions which may have caused the calves to fatigue more than usual.

         

        Good luck!  I love winter running (well, most of the time anyway - some days you just can't love it).

        Formerly known as coolrunning on the RW forums

        daisymae25


        Squidward Bike Rider

          Except for 1 mile of my run today (in which I went over a rather slick bridge), I actually enjoyed running in the snow.  I think the key is "fresh" snow because it hasn't frozen over yet, so it's easier to run on.  And while I do have a pair of trail shoes for this purpose (Mizuno Wave Ascend's), I made it through just fine with my Brooks Trance's.  I did bring my cheapy Stablicers with me just in case, though.

           

          I definitely will have to look into Smart Wool socks too.  I made it through just fine in my normal socks, but I did land in a puddle at one point.  That wasn't pleasant, and luckily I was almost done anyway.

          bob2121


            1) I agree with fitrnr - pace should only be of concern for workouts in good conditions.  Everything else should be effort based.

             

            2) Any shoes that you feel comfortable in.  Screws or trail shoes will have marginally better traction but slipping around is part of the benefit.  bad conditions strenthen and impove flexibility (hips, calves, core...).  No matter what you wear short of racing spikes slush and snow will make you slip, and that still might not be enough.

             

            3) As for how to deal with the cold, I am still working on that.  I like to keep my legs and core warm (multiple jackets and pants over tights) and this makes numb extremities more tolerable.  For wet feet good, thick socks will help out.

             

            4) I am also a very upright, high cadence runner.  I find that I have less difficulty on slick surfaces than many of my teammates.  I try and focus on maintaining pace, keeping tall, and getting in a lot of steps on slippery surfaces.

             

            5) Mentioned this in #2, but bad conditions will work some muscles harder than usual.  If you run on bad surfaces, the tendency (and it is a good thing) is to land more on the forefoot, which works your calves a bit harder than a midfoot strike.  What you did is the best you can do - stretch and roll - the only thing I would add is maybe some tip-toe walks like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UpiP6wXu54 before you run to strengthen and warmup your calves.

            PRs:  3k - 9:17, 5k - 15:56, half - 1:23 


            RunsWithDog

              Thanks all so much for the great feedback!

               

              I am going to look into some Cascadias and get a pair if they feel good in the store.

               

              I am addicted to CEP compression socks (they saved me 100% when I was having AT/calf issues last spring. I was into PT 3x/wk, major issue, and I got those socks and had a 90% improvement from run#1, so I pretty much haven't run in anything else since then, lol), and I do think they provide some warmth still when wet, but it is just unpleasant as heck, lol.

               

              I'll be doing those tippy toes walks! THANKS!

               

              So, I think I'll try the Cascadias and maybe see if they make a winter/Goretex version of them. Maybe get some yak tracks while I'm at the store. Smile

               

              I have to say I am thrilled to hear that my body was getting some extra benefits in core/etc strength today, as it is pretty depressing to work that hard and get 13mm! I feel better about it thinking that I got some good core and whatnot workout. Next time, I'll just slow down further on a day like today. I appreciate the "permission" to do so, lol. I am new to having prescribed paces for runs, as I have mainly done Hal Higdon HM & M plans in the past which did not prescribe paces for any but the occasional pace run. My current plan has prescribed paces for pretty much all my runs, but usually the Easy zone is very easy for me, so today was a novel run when I was supposed to be running easy but that still felt hard. I guess I have to take a big chill pill and change my pace as needed for conditions that warrant it.

               

              FWIW, I love running in crappy weather. And, I love snow in general and running in it in particular. Giving myself permission to slow down as needed and finding a way to get a bit better traction should make those runs even better. If I can find a way to keep my toes dry, I'll be in heaven!

               

              Thanks again.

              PRs: 10k 57:30, HM 2:11:12, Full 5:02:57

              Next Up: HM 1/6/13 & Marathon #3 3/24/13

              Training Plan Right Now: Hansons Brothers Beginner Marathon Plan

                The CEP are nylon and spandex, which don't provide any warmth when wet. I use compression too, but I switched to calf sleeves. CEP makes calf sleeves.

                 

                Seriously, try wool, you won't believe how much warmer they are. Even when wet.

                .

                  ....

                  So, I think I'll try the Cascadias and maybe see if they make a winter/Goretex version of them. Maybe get some yak tracks while I'm at the store. Smile

                   

                  I have to say I am thrilled to hear that my body was getting some extra benefits in core/etc strength today, as it is pretty depressing to work that hard and get 13mm! I feel better about it thinking that I got some good core and whatnot workout. Next time, I'll just slow down further on a day like today. I appreciate the "permission" to do so, lol. I am new to having prescribed paces for runs, as I have mainly done Hal Higdon HM & M plans in the past which did not prescribe paces for any but the occasional pace run. My current plan has prescribed paces for pretty much all my runs, but usually the Easy zone is very easy for me, so today was a novel run when I was supposed to be running easy but that still felt hard. I guess I have to take a big chill pill and change my pace as needed for conditions that warrant it....

                  Be careful with goretex or other waterproof shoe. If water or slush comes in over the top, you'll have a squishy run the rest of the way - and it's not that hard to get into those conditions. We had a chinook come through last night, and temps were in the 40s (above 0) today. This made for a mushy run, and working my way through drifts - soggy feet when done, but not unreasonably cool (no worse that saturated feet in summer). Goretex shoes tend to be heavier and stiffer than regular shoes, although I've never tried any. (most people around here use their regular shoes or maybe icebugs)

                   

                  Last winter, I tried an outdry (similar to goretex, but supposed to breathe more) version of a shoe that's been working for me, but they changed so much of the shoe (toe box and a rocker under the forefoot) that it wasn't really the same shoe. I'll admit I liked the drier feet for the little bit I used them, but since I couldn't wear them for long, I was unable to find out if that really worked. The guy that won the foot division of Iditarod Trail INvitational (350mi across snow in Alaska in late Feb/early March) last year wore outdry Mountain Masochists, iirc, and they worked ok for him.

                   

                  Wool socks work well. You might try them with your other socks but not sure how that would work. I'll use neoprene socks sometimes.

                   

                  About "easy" and "hard". It's your log, and you can use the terms to be what you want. Something I've found is I like to separate hard cardio (usually from hrm) from hard on muscles (might be downhill or could be leaping through the snow, usually muscles talking to brain). For me some things are for training / conditioning - like cardio. Other things are for keeping track of "hard" things - downhills, wet snow - that could offer some explanation for body trying to tell me something about it feeling abused.

                   

                  Oh, and a general guideline about paces. They're generally intended for flat, firm surfaces. Any time you're on trails, hills, snow, etc it's probably better to switch to effort / feel for a metric.

                   

                  Have fun!

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


                  Oh roo roooo!

                    Just a 2 cents' worth (or maybe only 1 cent) regarding Yak Trax and the like:  I was greatly excited to pick up a pair of these on a great sale at Running Warehouse last spring.  I have never used anything like this before but after a really wretched DNF at a 50K trail run in February (all fricking ice...), I decided to give it a try.  I put them on my shoes and found that they pinched the outer side of my foot/little toe area horrendously, absolutely unwearable for me.  I readjusted and moved things around, tried different shoes, etc.  No dice.

                     

                    Now, I see a lot of folks have these, so they must work for most, but they surely didn't for me.  If you are in fact contemplating getting something like this, be sure to give it a try in the store/indoors before you head out, just in case you have the same issue.

                     

                    Best wishes!


                    not lazy, just tired

                      Yak Trax didn't last too long for me before they broke. I just ran this morning on snow and ice with my new shoes - Icebug Anima-L BUGrip. They're trail shoes with spikes in the treads. Worked great - no slipping at all.

                      Not if it makes sense.

                        My summer running shoes are Brooks Addiction, plus a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS11 that I'm trying.  My "new" pair of winter running shoes are Brooks Adrenaline GTX (Gore Tex), and "old" pair are Brooks Adrenaline ASR5.  These shoes are all working well.

                         

                        I use running gaiters from ZombieRunner.com whenever there's snow on the ground.  My feet only got soaking wet once when I broke through thin ice into shin deep water.  Wrung my socks out and finished the run.

                         

                        The more slippery the surface, the more important it is to put your feet down properly.  If you skid when you plant your foot, it will try to skid out from under you.  Use this feedback to work on better technique.  When you get good, you will be able to run on wet ice.  Speedwork is not possible on slippery surfaces.

                         

                        Expect to fall a few times.  Just learn to tuck and roll if you fall forward, to fold your knees to go down easy if you fall backwards or sideways.

                          Bad experience with imitation Yaktrax (Snow Trax from Costco), as I have posted elsewhere; worked great for 2 runs then broke on the 3rd. Then on the next run without them, got injured. (Not yet officially diagnosed, but appears to be a metatarsal stress fracture). Of course I can't prove that the Snow Trax contributed to my injury, but that will always be in my head. When they broke I was going to replace them with real Yaktrax, but now I am thinking not.

                           

                          This is my first winter trying to run in snow; I never had a problem with the cold, but always went for the treadmill at the first sign of snow. I was determined to stay outside this winter, a lot of good tips in this thread (I will use after I recover....)

                          Dave


                          Fat butt on couch

                            I've lived in places with ice, and in places that get 400 inches of snow a year.  All I have ever used is standard running shoes.  Slow down, don't make sudden changes in direction, and shorten up your stride; forget trying to run fast workouts until you find some clear ground.

                            "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

                             

                            Ojo


                              I used to wear Yak Trax now I just wear my Cascadias in the snow.  I wear double socks -- Injini with a thin wool sock over it and have had no problems.  The Yak Traxs work well but only where there is snow on the road.  If you hit a patch of well plowed road it is the worst feeling and that's what probably breaks them so easily.  The Cascadias seem to work (for me) in any winter road condition.

                              Sara

                              MM #2929

                              Nakedbabytoes


                              levitation specialist

                                It's been very icy over the last month here, and it has pretty much stayed too cold to melt any of it. I wear off road versions on my usual shoes(Newtons, Terra instead of Distance).

                                I ride a unicycle(no, not to run although that might be fun!) but riding that taught me better balance and also that falling forwards is more easily recoverable than falling backwards. So when I run on ice(because honestly, there is no choice right now around here), I run upright but with a very slight forward lean and take shorter strides, being very conscious of trying to plant my foot with no forward or backward movement. Almost like I am just placing it and lifting it. Braking or pushing off will tend to lead to slippage and falling. If anything, this time of year gives you practice on form and foot landing.

                                And yes, do not worry about pace. I switched my Garmin's display screen to show only HR, Time of day, and distance. You are working hard for sure, but the speed wont be apparent. Think of this time of year as more "cross training" and not so much "running" per sey.

                                I wear Smartwool socks and they do work well. Wool is great since it warms even when wet. I do have some Goretex Solomon shoes but they are about 6 years old and I've never ran in them. They are my casual knock around shoes when I get tired of wearing boots for months on end. I fear that they might look new but might be bad for my feet. So far, my Terras seem to be working out okay but we will see once things start melting. Slush might be another story.

                                With any shoe, you might do a few shorter runs just to be sure your feet like them before racking up the miles. Not so much for "breaking in" the shoe as opposed to "breaking in" your feet!

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