Run on snow? What are you crazy? | SierraSun.com

Run on snow? What are you crazy?

Peter Fain
Running on Snow

Submitted to swright@sasun.comAuthor Peter Fain demonstrates clean form while competing in a snowshoe race last winter.

Snowshoe running started quite on accident for me. I moved up to Truckee with big dreams of trying the Biathlon. To make a long story short, my bank account said no. My college track coach put me in touch with Adam Chase from Atlas Snow-Shoe Company and next thing I knew, it was my new sport. That was 1998.

It started with a series of trial and errors. I struggled to figure out the right clothing to wear and where to go snowshoeing. The uneven surfaces were a far cry from the track workouts I was used to. Iand#8217;m going to touch on many of my mistakes throughout this season, so hopefully you can skip them and just excel in the sport.

Without the right clothing you will be miserable out there. If my fingers or toes are cold, my run is ruined. I make sure my extremities are warm before I put my shoes or gloves on. That usually helps. For shoes, I wear a pair from La Sportiva called the Crossover. It is their racing trail shoe that has morphed into something designed for the snow.

With Gore-Tex lining and a built-in gaiter, your feet are sure to stay dry. Accompany them with some smart wool socks and youand#8217;re golden. If youand#8217;re not interested in investing in a new pair of shoes (chances are your summer shoes are worn and you should), then a pair of gaiters and good wool socks will get you started. No, you don’t need the gaiters that come up to your knees. The little 12-inch style is fine. But finding the Gore-Tex shoe that works for you is very important.

I tend to carry two pairs of gloves, depending on the temperature and#8212; a very thin liner and a solid pair of Nordic gloves. Check with the guys at Pacos. Theyand#8217;ll set you up right. Fleece gloves are fine if you know that youand#8217;re not going to be falling or sticking your hands in the snow. And since you have to put on your snowshoes, thatand#8217;s pretty much out.

I still struggle with pants. I have confidence issues when it comes to tights. I donand#8217;t know, theyand#8217;re hard for me to wear. Youand#8217;ll see me in them but Iand#8217;m not liking it. They are the best for the job. The snow wicks off of your legs the best and they control your body temperature better. There are looser-fitting pants that wick well. Try them out in the store to see what feels good. Consider the noise the pants are going to make. Something is lost when the swishing of plastic material is what you hear and not the crunch of the snow under your feet.

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Two pieces for your top layers are needed. Your inner layer needs to be made of a long-sleeve wicking material with the outer layer being a thinner breathable shell. A note of caution: Snowshoe running is an aerobic activity. You will get warm and sweat. So, be careful when choosing these layers. Itand#8217;s easy to overheat. I have some Hot Chillyand#8217;s for an inner layer, but I only use those on the coldest days. Iand#8217;m talking the teens.

Add a warm beanie to keep your ears in check and youand#8217;re set and#8230; well, except for the snowshoes. Iand#8217;ve got a lot to say about those, so next week weand#8217;ll discuss snowshoes and why your heart rate spikes so rapidly when running in the snow.

and#8212; Peter Fain is a Truckee resident and 2009 National Snowshoe Champion. He may be contacted at runonsnow@gmail.com.