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4 tips for winter speedwork

Safety comes before speed not only in the dictionary but also in winter running

As temperatures get colder and the snow begins to fall, it makes finding a location for winter speedwork can be challenging. When the ground is covered with snow and ice, runners need to be extra cautious. Winterman MarathonPhoto: Instagram/@swimbikerunkat_

Here are a few things to consider when doing speedwork in the snow.

Run in daylight

If the sun is out, go run out(side). It’s easier to see slippery and icy areas up ahead during the daytime. Vehicles have no excuses not to see you running. If you can’t make it out for a run during the day, find a location or route that is well-lit and free from heavy traffic.

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Choose a nearby route

Safety comes before speed not only in the dictionary but also in winter running. Unless you have the time to shovel a running track, you should find a road or path near your home that’s well-lit, plowed, and free from traffic. For example, if you are doing six reps of 500 metres, you should look for a plowed 200 to 1,000m loop and use that street as a track. Finding a loop will help you relax during your workout and not worry about the conditions as much.

Winter Running
Photo submitted by Adam Sale

Consider using traction devices

Snow traction devices will help reduce slipping and improve your stride efficiency in the snow. Your body can tense up when running on a slippery surface, which can cause unusual soreness in your stabilizer muscles. The point of wearing traction devices is to give you more stability. This will make it easier to increase your speed and control. 


Shorten your stride 

One thing that will change when running on the snow is your technique. It is important to shorten your stride and to keep your centre of gravity lower to have more control over the surface.

There is no need to make running harder than it is, and doing speedwork during the winter can be a rewarding experience for many who have upcoming spring and summer races. Having a plan to run safely will help you get the best results out of your winter training.