Seven Days without Snowshoe Running makes One Weak?

It wasn’t too long ago that I was happily stating I had done almost every run since mid November wearing snowshoes. Amazing how things can change in a week. Warm weather, plus a whack of rain, has left us with none of the snow that the two big December snowstorms gave us.

Initially, I was bummed out by this as I’ve been training hard and focusing on the Pittsfield Snowshoe Marathon in Vermont in March. I am fired up about this race as it looks to be an excellent event ( I have even decided not to race as many shorter events this winter leading up to Pittsfield in the hopes of having a very strong race there.

Before the melt, everything was going great. Lots of high mileage on snowshoes, with some solid tempo runs and speed sessions mixed in as well. I felt like I was getting stronger and stronger on the snowshoes by the day.

Then, the melt came and it forced me to get off my snowshoes and start running more on the roads and trails again. I was a little surprised with my first few runs back without snowshoes. I knew that I was fit and strong, but I felt like I was definitely lacking speed and was maybe a little slow.

I remember that this has happened in the past when I have put too much emphasis on snowshoe running and neglected putting in some faster quality miles without my snowshoes and working on my leg turnover. Last year, in fact, after having a disappointing end to the snowshoe racing season, I vowed that I would not let this happen again. I guess it just takes a few good snowsfalls to forget what you know you should be doing.

So, I guess you can say that the big melt didn’t contribute to me losing fitness and becoming weaker, but actually ended up being a very good reminder for me. I have felt a little quicker and smoother on each run since then. So, once again, I tell myself that the best way to get faster at snowshoe racing is to have a healthy dose of both snowshoe running and some non-snowshoe running too.

Having said that however, it feels like it’s been way too long since my last run on snowshoes and I hope that the few snowflakes that are falling right now just keep on coming!


About the author


Sara Montgomery and Derrick Spafford

Derrick and Sara are trail runners from Eastern Ontario who discovered that running on snowshoes in the winter months is a great way to enjoy their favorite trails year-round. They competed in their first snowshoe series (The Mad Trapper Series in Low, Quebec) in 2005, each finishing 2nd in their respective divisions. Plans for 2006 are to return to the Mad Trapper, to take in some races in New York and Vermont, and hopefully cap their season with the U.S. Snowshoe Championships in March, as Canadian guests. Derrick runs a company, Spafford Health and Adventure (, which specializes in coaching and event promotion. He is currently planning an annual snowshoe race to be held in the Kingston area, starting this winter.