Hi! My name is Ken. I'm going to periodically write about running, writing, and a number of other topics. Please feel free to read my posts and provide your comments. If you have a question about any topic, leave a message and I'll try to help you get the information you're looking for. Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again soon.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Snowshoe Shuffle

This past Sunday morning I headed over to my favorite rail trail, Hop River, to get in a workout. The only difference was that I brought along a pair of snowshoes my wife bought me last year. They had been hanging on the wall in my garage since last Christmas with the tag still on them. We had gotten about 9 inches of snow over the past three days so I figured why not give them a try.

Several weeks ago I ran about 5 miles on the very same trail with just running shoes after a snow storm. With the uneven surface caused by the snow and slippery conditions, I could feel the bottoms of my feet starting to ache a bit. Several years ago I developed plantar fasciitis and I'm pretty sure it stemmed from similar snowy runs. 

Anyway, I strapped these bad boys on and started off on what I had hoped would be a 7 mile run. With snowshoes, your foot is strapped in completely, but the rear of the snowshoe moves up and down making it unlikely you would spike yourself while running.  I was a little uncertain how they would feel and if they would give me problems running. Off I went at about 9:30 am after a quick stretching routine. It was still snowing lightly and there was a slight wind blowing. From the tracks on the trail, I could tell that a number of cross country skiers, walkers, dogs, rabbits, deer, squirrels, birds and chipmunks had been around. There was also one set of snowshoe tracks that seemed to drift back and forth on the trail as if that person had been hitting the brandy before or during their journey. I guess that person had to keep warm somehow. Ha Ha!

When running the last time on the snowy trail, I took advantage of the cross country tracks as much as possible because it made for easier running. But with the snowshoes on, I just blazed down the center of the trail, occasionally catching a packed down patch left by the dizzy snowshoe person. But I did occasionally bump the insides of my ankles with the side of the snowshoes. It hurt a little bit so I concentrated on running straight while trying to keep a certain distance between each snowshoe as I ran. I didn't bother using the poles that came with the snowshoes and I'm glad about that.  They would have gotten in the way. I'm sure there will be plenty of conditions when I'll end up using them.
At the 3.5 mile mark, my turnaround point, I stopped for a minute to check my snowshoe straps. It took me 40:49 to reach that spot.  An older gentleman cross country skiing stopped by for a minute to chat. He looked about 70 years old, but he was moving right along. I was impressed by him. I wish my dad was in that kind of shape.

A little while later, on the way back, guess what? My left foot snowshoe came loose so I had to stop. The strap around the heal had slipped off, making it impossible to run. After a quick adjustment, I continued my run. A minute later I thought I saw two deer run across the trail ahead of me.   Turns out it was two dogs out for a snowy walk with their owner. My nearsightedness had struck again. I've seen many deer in this area before on previous runs. I knew they were around there because of the tracks.

My return trip took me 39:28, a 1 minute and 21 second negative split. I was pleased with that time given the conditions.

I just checked the forecast for New England this week. It looks like we're going to get hit again with possibly up to 12-14 inches of snow on Wednesday. Looks like another chance to go snowshoeing. 


  1. Sounds fun! The most we get around here is 2 to 3 inches and that is hard enough to run in.

  2. Wow, I can't imagine so much snow. I live here in the Midwest and we usually get a couple of good storms a season that drop maybe 6 inches at a time on us but mostly we get ICE. Sounds like fun running in those conditions. Wondering how the work out was different fitness wise (with snow shoe and so much snow) compared to your normal routine???

  3. How about 28 inches of snow? I can't believe we got that much. I didn't have time to go snowshoeing because I spent it digging out.

    Twila, I wish we only got 3 inches of snow. I can't believe we got 9 times that amount?!! This isn't Siberia last time I checked.

    Brooke, the workout is sort of like running with ankle weights on beach sand. You can tell by my times. It tires your legs out for sure,but I didn't have any lingering problems from it. I usually cover the same distance in under a 7:30 pace.

    I'm going to try again this Sunday. Thanks for stopping by.


  4. We got a perfect 9 inches of snow this past week, nice fluffy stuff too! Perfect for snowshoeing. Were you wearing running shoes? I'm wondering how you kicked yourself in the ankle :) I was wearing hiking boots, they kept my toes/ankles warm. Thanks for the comment on my blog!

  5. Amy, the width of the snowshoes are three times the width of my running shoes. I was wearing running shoes with the snowshoes. The inside snowshoe bars would occasionally bump against insides of my ankles when striding. I only had a regular pair of running socks on at the time though. Tomorrow I plan on wearing a pair of thicker socks, which should protect my ankle from any issues. I think if I wore any type of boot, my feet would get hot.

    How about following me? I just started following you.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  6. Wow. Running in snowshoes? Sounds hard. But it must have been beautiful!

  7. It was a bit challenging with 5 to 6 inches of snow last time. I tried to duplicate the run yesterday after 28 inches of snow. It was a lot more challenging. I made it to the 2.5 mile point and turned around after walking some of it. It was a good workout,but I got tired because I was breaking fresh trail from the 1.5 mile mark. The beginning had been packed down by some other snowshoers, which made it easier. But once I reached their turnaround point it was a whole different story.

    It was beautiful to be out in the woods. There were 2 skiers and 3 snowshoers, including me.


Your comments are appreciated!