Have you ever been put off heading out for a run because of the snow or ice underfoot? Some of us still want to get our running fix come snow, rain or shine.
The winter so far in the Alps has been amazing, bringing all of the above. On those very snowy days when the ski pistes are a white out we've still enjoyed getting out on snowshoes, cross country skis and running. We are really lucky to be able to get out and exercise most days - but in my week I still want to keep my running going so that my body doesn't get a complete shock in Spring when the snow starts to clear.
Getting out for a run on a cool, crisp wintery day beit whilst it's snowing or when the suns come out and the snow's sparkling is so memorable. However, whether you are in the UK or abroad winter also offers some 'tough to run' days.
Over the past few winters I've been using winter running spikes to help keep me moving or rather not slipping...they are cheap, light, easy to use and don't require any special technique. You just pull them on over your own shoes and away you go.
I have tried a few different types now all of which are designed for running or walking on icey sections of road, trail or pavement. To give you grip and friction on ice and packed down snow they come with either metal studs, a spring tread or serrated metal teeth. Actual trainers have also been designed with this as a permanent feature. For deep snow it's best to look for special running snowshoes. I have found that the cheapest, simplest rubber pull-on design has done the job perfectly. They normally come in S,M,L & XL, according to your shoe size.
The studs/metal and rubber will eventually wear out of course and the more contact they have with gravel, tarmac and pavement will reduce their life span even more. I have one set which is made up of just studs (pictured) that have lasted 2 winters now and barely show signs of wear. If you shop around, especially if you plan to visit any ski towns, a wider selection is now becoming available with really competitive prices.
Remember though if you do decide to buy a pair take your time getting used to them and their particular design features: they don't suddenly make you invisible in all conditions! You'll also want to avoid surfaces such as marble, tile or any non-icy, non-snowy surfaces when wearing them. It's also worth building up your mileage with them slowly. Running on ice and hard packed snow can have a pounding sensation on the body and could lead to a bit of back ache or sore knees....so build up to your normal distances slowly.
So here's a small selection of what's on the market .... and links to where to find them. During my research I found the IceGripper website to be a useful source of further information on all design types. You'll be amazed on the selection out there.
IceGripper A good budget stud ice grip. Lightweight and compact, quick and easy to put on and take off. £14.99
Petzl Spiky Plus An anti-slip overshoe. £25.00
YakTraxPro Are a metal spring design that when weighted press down into the snow and create a secure grip. £21.95
Kahtoola Microspikes These slip-on spikes dig into all types of terrain - ice, packed snow, wet rocks, and scree. £44.99
Inov8 Oroc 348 All round winter running shoes with metal grips on the ball and heel designed to bite into ice. £103.50 (rrp.£115)
More images on our 'spikes' can be found on our Face Book pages. I hope you are able to keep running this winter.
For some summer running join us in the Alps on our Trail Running Camps