If you live in Aspen you are well aware that winter has been severely delayed this year but never fear, it is coming. Winter is never an excuse to stop running so here are some winter running tips from an Aspen running coach to help you out.
Winter Running Tips From An Aspen Running Coach
Overall, winter is some of the best running in Aspen and one of the reasons for that is Aspen is not nearly as windy as other parts of Colorado can be. The front range of Colorado is constantly hounded by wind and unless we have storm front moving through the Aspen area, wind is never an issue.
And it is because of that lack of wind, even a 25 degree day can feel quite pleasant as long as you are in the sun and running in or around Aspen.
While much terrain and trails do become un-runnable during the winter around here, there are some that are actually BETTER than in the summer. For instance, when the Hunter Creek Trail fills in with snow and is packed down over all of the rocks, it is quite the pleasant downhill run from the Benedict Bridge to the Rio Grande Trail in the wintertime.
With many of the trails closed by snow, there are still plenty of road and paved paths to run on including the Rio Grande, Owl Creek, Brush Creek, Up 82 to the closure gate, Castle Creek Road, Maroon Creek Road up the Bells, and so on.
When the conditions are right, one of my favorite winter runs is up to the Bells and then running down the soft but packed snow on Maroon Creek Road. To be honest it feels like flying.
But no article about winter running tips from an Aspen running coach would be complete without talking about gear, what to wear, etc.
Everyone is different but it is important to figure out how to dress enough to stay warm but not so much that you become overheated. Hats and gloves are usually mandatory for any winter run around here.
Do not forget hydration and fueling either… you are not burning calories from just running, you are also burning calories keeping your body warm.
Traction… I rarely use microspikes but I typically ALWAYS have them packed in my running pack for just incase. In most cases a good trail shoe with an aggressive tread works just about everywhere, even running uphill on Aspen Mountain when the runs are packed and groomed. Since I have lived in Aspen I have never used screw shoes like I used to use on the front range as they have not been necessary.
Reflective gear is important with the shorter winter days and I always have a headlamp packed as well. You never know.
January and February are really two of my favorite months to run around Aspen. If I had to say one month is worse than all others, that would be April because in April we have snow, rain, ice, melting snow, deep (inches) of standing slush and the conditions can change day to day, or even hour to hour, it all depends.
So there you have it… winter running tips from an Aspen running coach – I am sure there are many more to add so if you think of any please put them in the comments section below!
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Photo By Claudia K 06 Feb 2016