Winter Trail Running in Colorado

Winter Trail Running is one of my favorite training routines. I love the cold air. I love the snow underfoot. It’s much softer than running on pavement. This morning it was 2 degrees F in Keystone Colorado. I had some other things to do, or I would have run first thing in the morning.

My 12 year old son wasn’t up for Winter Trail Running, but decided to go snowshoeing instead. I gave him a little head start. After a while I started up the road behind Keystone Resort in Colorado. The Ski Patrol uses this road to haul injured skiers down to meet the ambulance. Sure enough at the gate to the road an ambulance waited. About a quarter mile up the road I stepped to the side to allow the snowmobile to pass. There was an injured skier in the sled, with red and blue lights flashing.

For Winter Trail Running you have to experiment a lot with clothing and shoes. I try to dress as lightly as possible. This afternoon it’s about 15 degrees, but the sun will be going behind the ridge soon and the temperature will drop. I’ll also spend some time walking with my son. My plan is to run and walk in intervals. The Polar Graph shows my intervals best in the heart rate zone lines.

For my Winter Trail Running, actually any trail running, I like to wear my Polar RS800CX GPS G5 Heart Rate Monitor. I like the graphing functions in Polar ProTrainer, and export the data to Google Earth so I can see it from a very different angle. Using the Polar WebLink software I can upload my data to but that’s very clunky. I only do that to add my Training Load data. That way I can plan my intensity of training for the next few days to ensure proper recovery.

Winter Trail Running Clothing

Today for winter trail running I wore a thin long sleeve training tee as a baselayer. Over that I wore a thin zipper hoodie. For my outer layer I wore a windproof winter training jacket. I wore a thin beanie from TNF, and in the shadow of the setting sun, I flipped the hood up. For gloves I wore a pair of REI winter cycling gloves with the lobster configuration, since my hands were a bit cold last year in my fleece gloves.

My lower body winter trail running choice was a single layer loose winter tight by Sporthill. I’ve never worn it before so it was a bit risky. It felt just a little warm in the sun, and just perfect in the shadows. On my feet I wore a pair of Injinji liners under a pair of Smartwool PHD thick mountaineering socks. They fit just perfect in the Salomon Men’s Spikecross 3 CS Winter Trail Running Shoes. I wore these on my hike up Quandary last winter. They have sharp square rubber lugs on the sole and steel spikes that stick in the ice. Tip: don’t put them on and walk on your tile or carpet if you can help it. They’re also noisy on asphalt.

Everything worked fine. I did sweat a little bit, and it got chilled a lot during those times I walked with my son. As soon as I started moving I warmed up again quickly, so I think it was a good balance. The shoes worked good, and my feet were never cold. These are very thick socks though. One thing I noticed is that these shoes do have a bit of a heel, and it’s very stiff. If you’re used to flatter, or more cushioned shoes it will take a bit of effort to stay forward on your toes. Especially on the downhills.