The Best Winter Sport for Runners: Snowshoe Racing

Snowshoe racing.

Winter is here. The daylight hours have waned and the temperatures have dropped. I've already noticed the absence of many regulars on the roads I run, choosing instead to seek refuge indoors.

The die-hard runners are still out there battling the elements and looking forward to the epic "man vs. nature" struggle to complete their training runs and prepare for the spring racing season. But there's still no doubt that slippery roads, cold temperatures and the monotony of winter road running can make it tough for anyone to get out the door.

The fast-growing sport of competitive snowshoe racing is the perfect antidote to this winter running slump. Not only is it fun to run over the hills and through the woods to Grandma's house, but it also helps you become a stronger, faster runner once the snow melts. Doesn't that sound better than another long run on the slushy streets dodging snowplows?

The mechanics of snowshoeing are very similar to running. However, wearing snowshoes will force you to lift your knees higher so that you can clear the snow with the extra snowshoe on your foot. This should translate to faster times when you get back on the roads this spring.

The cardiovascular effects of snowshoeing are also beneficial. Running through fresh snow uphill in snowshoes is a tremendous workout. Those who are new to the sport of snowshoeing are encouraged to start slow because it will be considerably more challenging than a normal run of equal distance.

Snowshoe racing.

Approaching your winter training with a mix of road running, snowshoe running and strength training should result in a very nice jumping off point in the spring. And if you've run some longer races in the fall—as many athletes do—that should set you up for an easy transition into snowshoe season.

Add some snowshoe running to the mix, and you'll be in prime shape to knock the socks off the competition come St. Patty's Day.

Visit the United States Snowshoe Association for event listings near you.

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About the Author

Jason Saltmarsh is an RRCA Certified Distance Running Coach and marathon runner who has been writing about health and fitness since 2012. His work has appeared in Runner’s World and Club Running, and on many popular running websites. He is a regular contributor to ACTIVE.com and the Huffington Post and recently published his first book, Marathon Running: A Complete Guide for Beginners. Learn more at saltmarshrunning.com.

Jason Saltmarsh is an RRCA Certified Distance Running Coach and marathon runner who has been writing about health and fitness since 2012. His work has appeared in Runner’s World and Club Running, and on many popular running websites. He is a regular contributor to ACTIVE.com and the Huffington Post and recently published his first book, Marathon Running: A Complete Guide for Beginners. Learn more at saltmarshrunning.com.

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