I have finally set about trying to salvage this month for running. Illness, work and Christmas all managed to make me virtually give up any running. No matter what I do now, it won’t exactly be a stellar month in terms of mileage. Actually it will no doubt be my lowest monthly mileage of 2014. But I am trying to get back at it in order to avoid feeling like a total beginner come January.
At the moment my training has taken a bit of a twist. Last week I bought a pair of running snowshoes. I already have a fairly cheap pair of all purpose snowshoes. Two years ago I tried to add snowshoeing to my cross training. I enjoyed it but found the change in my walking and running gait with heavy boots and snowshoes on caused knee pain. It didn’t seem worth it to risk injury for the purpose of cross training.
My new running snowshoes are smaller and allow me to make minimal changes to my gait. The springed area on which my foot rests encourages comfortable running. Of course using my new trail shoes also makes the whole process “easier” than it was with my boots.
Why the quotations around easier? Because I am not sure that snowshoe running could ever be called easy!!! I know I have been off running for a few weeks but holy crap it is a lot of work to run on snowshoes. Much of course depends on the type of terrain you are on and whether or not a path has already been made. We have headed out as a family a few times now on our property as well as the properties around us, so some trails have been made. We are very lucky to live where we do. We can strap on the snowshoes right outside our house and head out for a lengthy trek. We also have many trails that are only a short drive away.
As for the running part, let’s just say I am doing run/walk intervals, and I am not talking about the standard “ten and ones”. This is more like, “Oh my gosh I can’t run another step and I have to walk right now” intervals. So far the longest stretch I have done without a walk break is 1 km! Each time I head out though it feels just a little bit easier.
Perhaps the best part of snowshoeing is how light footed you feel when you go out for a road run. On Saturday I did 5 km of walking/running (emphasis on the walking) on the snowshoes, then came in, changed into dry clothes and went for a 5k run, no walk breaks allowed. That first km of the run felt amazing! Admittedly it did not take long for my legs to realize just how tired they were so the next 4k did not feel quite as easy, but I managed.
Ultimately I think the snowshoeing will provide excellent training for my spring running. I will have to get used to my mileage being lower each week if I replace one or two road runs with hitting the trails. I do think though that the workouts will pay off and hopefully make me a faster runner. Mind you I am going to need mother nature to help out – all those trails we have started to make will be washed away with the “Santa rain bomb” that is heading our way for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Best laid plans…