Leslie Nichols running up the Eastern Promenade in Portland

Snow Runner

Text Leslie Dillon.

New England winter is something that can only be understood by experiencing it. This, of course, was something I didn’t know when I moved here as a naive Midwesterner. As I approach my tenth winter here, I have learned that the basic lessons of surviving winter in New England also apply to winter running.

Be prepared. Getting dressed for winter running can feel like its own workout. Having the right gear, though, can be the difference between a comfortable run and an unbearable one. Consider investing in a waterproof jacket, footwear with solid traction (or a traction product), and high visibility gear in addition to a tech base layer, tights, gloves and headwear.


Outdoors at Bretton Woods NH. Photo: Doug Weisman (douglasweismanphotography.com)

Outdoors at Bretton Woods NH. Photo: Doug Weisman (douglasweismanphotography.com)

Tough it out together. Even after getting all layered up it can be tough to make it out the door, especially in the cold and dark hours before or after work. Having a reliable running buddy or a year-round running group can provide the extra motivation needed in the less appealing winter running conditions. Two great group options include Old Port Pub Run in Portland (oldportpubrun.wordpress.com) and the SIX03 Endurance Pub Runs in New Hampshire (six03endurance.com/pub-runs).

Get creative. For runners who normally train on trails, the first snow fall or ice storm might mean moving their mileage to the roads, but it doesn’t have to. In true New England fashion, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the trails in the snow. There are several snowshoe and winter racing series that can add a fun twist to winter training. Check out the Granite State Snowshoe Series (granitestatesnowshoeseries.org) or Baxter Outdoor’s Packed Powder Series (bbaxteroutdoors.com/packedpowderseries.html).

Adapt. This is perhaps the most important lesson for surviving winter in New England. There will be days where the road or weather conditions require a change of plans. Being prepared to adapt a workout to the treadmill or shift around your training schedule is essential.

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