Safe Snow Running

A few key tips for safe running in the snow.

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A few key tips for safe running in the snow.

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 to hips, he says.

One of his athletes, marathoner and Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor, shares her tips for running in the snow:

For light snow conditions I have a pair of the Asics Gel-Arctic shoes, which have little studs on the bottom for better grip and are water resistant. If I need extra traction, I add Yak Trax ( As the snow deepens I will use Kahtoola Microspikes ( or crampons over my shoes. If there is a huge storm that is dumping multiple feet of fresh powder, I use snowshoes with a narrow back so I can run in them. Sometimes these are difficult workouts, but that is when we often feel the most gratification.

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 from the wind and snow. (Do not use Vaseline if it is sunny—you will burn!)

In the winter months I run about 15 to 25 miles a week in packed powder and deep snow, depending on what Mother Nature brings. My snow runs are always an easy evening run where I am not straining to run a certain pace but rather enjoying the weather and scenery that winter brings.

The important things to remember are 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.

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