Well this title is a bit of an oxymoron since ChiRunning is basically the only way to run in snowshoes. Have you ever tried to heel strike with snowshoes on? I didn’t think so…
I remember having a conversation with Mike Caldwell of the Mad Trapper Series fame about proper technique. We broke it down and basically agreed applying the ChiRunning principles was the way to go. The same with former Olympian Dave McMahon.
Running in snowshoes is not easy at first but it’s also not rocket science. I would highly recommend just going out for a snowshoe walk first to get used to the gear and how it hinges when you take a step. Having racing (smaller) snowshoes also helps tremendously.
When you get the hang of it, it’s all about minimizing the drag. The keys in my mind are to have proper posture, lean into the run and particularly relax the ankles. You also want to use your arms as much as possible to stay up right and relax your legs as much as possible. Trust me that after a long snowshoe, you’ll be beat all over if you’re doing it correctly.
It basically has to do with efficiency. It’s important when you have just shoes on but it’s crucial when you have gear on top of your shoes and you have to go through deep snow.
If you’re looking to try snowshoe racing, I highly recommend it. I even wrote an article for Impact Mag about how snowshoe running can help spring you to a great year of running. It’s also some of the most fun you can have in the winter!
And here’s a cool video on the night race of the Mad Trapper Series. It’s the coolest race in the series in my books!