Safe Snow Running

Deena Kastor shares her tips and favorite gear for running in winter.

Written by: Courtney Baird and Rebecca Heaton

You may think snow on the ground means you’re relegated to the treadmill or the track. But snowy conditions don’t prevent coach Terrence Mahon’s athletes—who live and train in Mammoth, Calif.—from hitting the trails. Besides getting them outside, snow running provides his runners with an added cardiovascular benefit and it works stabilization muscles all the way from ankles to hips, he says. One of his athletes, marathoner and Olympic Bronze medalist Deena Kastor, shares her tips for running in the snow.

  • I wear form-fitting, water-resistant clothing. If the conditions are on the harsher side, I wear a thin layer of Vaseline on my face to protect it from the wind and snow. (Do not use Vaseline if it is sunny.)
  • In the winter months I run about 15 to 25 miles a week in packed powder and deep snow. My snow runs are always an easy evening run when I am not straining to run a certain pace, but rather enjoying the weather and scenery.
  • Remember to wear a brimmed hat and glasses to protect your face, and always run somewhere familiar so you can find your way back if your tracks get covered by fresh snow or wind drifts.

Deena Kastor’s Favorite Gear

For light snow conditions, Kastor has a pair of the ASICS Gel-Arctic WR shoes (pictured below), which have little studs on the bottom for better grip and a Wet Grip Outsole for added traction. $90; asicsamerica.com

If Kastor needs extra traction on packed snow and ice, she’ll slip on a pair of Yaktrax Pros (see photo below) over her shoes. Yaktrax feature a patented SkidLock spikeless coil design on the bottom and heavy-duty natural rubber material that easily conforms to a shoe. $30; yaktrax.com

In deeper snow, Kastor uses Kahtoola MICROspikes (see photo below) with their bigger spikes (3/8 inch) for great grip. Also designed with a flexible elastomer rubber, these shoes slip on without the need for straps and stay snug in place. $59.95; kahtoola.com

Deena Kastor hasn’t tried these yet, but they’re worth checking out. ICESPIKE (pictured below) is a cool product that won an Outside magazine 2010 Gear of the Year award. Simply put, they are semi-permanent spikes that can be screwed into the bottoms of running shoes—or any winter shoes or boots—for traction on ice and snow. No need for straps or coils or chains. $25 for a packet of 32 spikes and installation tool (an adult shoe requires 12 spikes); icespike.com

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