Tips & Tricks

In Praise of Running in the Snow:

By January 14, 2016 April 4th, 2018 No Comments

A short reflection on the benefits of continuing one’s cardio endurance training as the ambient temperature declines well below the comfortable level

For most people, the arrival of cold and snow signals the time to put their running shoes in the closet and hunker down for a cardio hibernation until the spring thaw.  This is a mistake.

Running in the winter (especially trail running) is just as good as, if not better than, running during the summer or spring.  It should really go without saying that the fall season presents the absolute best time for running.  If you disagree with this obvious fact of life, just know that you are a horrible person with horrible opinions.  In fact, just to clear up any misconceptions, here is a definitive ranking of the seasons based on which is the best for running***:

  1. Fall
  2. Winter
  3. Summer
  4. Spring

***Note: This list, of course, does not apply to places like Southern California, where the whole of the population sold their souls to Satan (praise be) in order to keep the climate at room temperature year round.

I think we can all agree that spring is the worst.  It’s mud season for most trails and it’s impossible to tell whether you’re going to need to plan for 78 degrees or 32 degrees from minute to minute. Fuck spring.  That season is fickle as shit.  

But for those of you who need convincing that winter is indeed a better season for running than summer, here is a list of reasons that should easily convince you to convert to being a snow worshipper.

  1. You get to wear spikes.

Running on snow or ice can be a sketchy affair even with the most rugged of running shoe tread.  But luckily for us, our forebearers invented stainless steel spikes that you can attach to any running shoe.  I suggest the Kahtoola Microspikes, which are the most durable and badass of the bunch. Normally I carry a knife with me while I’m running just in case I have to fight off a mountain lion or grizzly bear a la Leo in the Revenant.  I’m pretty sure the knife is sufficient to handle either, but when I have the spikes on, I think my chances of success increase to 110%. (And no, that’s not a mistake in my math.  If you’ve ever seen my round house kick complete with spikes, you’d understand how I am able to defy the mathematics of probability.)

  1. Yetis are only seen in the winter.

Think you’re going to spot a Yeti during the summer? Don’t be an idiot.

  1. Extra motivation.

People always bitch and moan about it being too cold to run in winter.  If true at all, it’s really only a problem for the first couple of minutes and then you warm up from, you know, all that running around.  Best part is though, unlike summer running where you can sit down and cool off if you’re tired, you have no such option when running during the winter because if you stop, all the sweat will freeze and probably give you frostbite.  Awesome!  That’s the kind of extra motivation you need to polish that 10 mile run off in a new record time.

  1. Less people.

Because so many people refuse to run in winter, you basically have whatever trail or path to yourself.  This is good because people who run shouldn’t be trusted. I mean, who knows what why they are running or what they could be running from.  The cops? Nagging self doubt? Hell, they could be running to come stab you in the back or try to kidnap you.  Believe me, you are better off without all those people running around you.

  1. Running in snow is awesome.

It’s like running on fluffy clouds through a winter wonderland.  Everything is so peaceful when it’s blanketed by the freshly fallen snow.  It’s really all very fucking magical. Way more magical than some summer rain storm that’s just going to make you wet and miserable. Also, it’s way easier to track any prey you might be hunting in snow.

  1. Street cred.

Everyone runs in the summer.  But when you tell people you just went for a run in 20 degree weather at 7,000 feet they show you some respect.  Or they think you’re crazy.  Either way, they’ll think twice before saying anything bad about you… at least to your face.

By now you should be thoroughly convinced to get out there and hit those snow covered trails.  If you still think you’ll hold off till summer, well there is no helping you and I suggest you take up an activity that’s more your speed, like stamp collecting or bowling.


EDITOR’S NOTE:  The author of this post is of Scottish ancestry and therefore cannot be out in the sun for any length of time unless covered head to toe in 3mm-thick protective gear and wearing spf 100 sunscreen.  This fact likely explains his hatred of summer and the sun generally.

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