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From Novice to Snowshoe 1/2 Marathon

By Racer Russel Fink

Novice to 1/2 Marathon

As a guy who snowshoed twice in his life before completing a snowshoe
half marathon, I am not sure how qualified I am to give any advice or
expertise but I can share some thoughts I have learned through my
experience. Admittedly, there is nothing below that is earth
shattering advice but I came in as a novice snowshoer and had a great
time and I will share any little bit I can. The below is a short list
of what I would tell someone with limited snowshoe experience.

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Don’t Be Afraid

1. Don’t be afraid — Snowshoes? Hills? Winter? Vermont? Yes, as a
suburbanite from Long Island, this all terrified me but don’t be
afraid. It is a new adventure and one worth doing. If you came across
this research, you have probably done some running races before so
just like anything, it is just jumping in and going for it.

Read This

2. Do your research. Many people have done the race before you and
have written race reports about it. Search the web — find those
reports and people — these first hand experiences can help you with
how to prepare and some race day tips. Don’t be afraid to reach out to
those people and ask questions (I emailed someone who I ended up
corresponding with for a while and she gave amazing advice)

Get Out In the Weather

3. Preparation is key. The race is hilly and the race is cold so dust
off that cold weather gear now and get out there and do some hills.
Yes, it’s dark, yes, it’s December, yes, it’s cold, but training is
what we love to do (right?!?!) so we get out there and do it

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Bring a Friend

4. Bring a friend. With a very limited day and a half of snowshoeing
experience between us, my friend and I both came to to do the half
marathon (and this year we are going for the full), and having some
company is a great way to enable the experience. Nothing wrong with
going at it alone (everyone on the course is very supportive and
friendly) but a good friend and a shared experience bring another nice
element to your day — it can help you get through those tough
moments.

Don’t Overthink It

5. Don’t overthink it — This was my biggest issue – I had a backpack
filled with a week’s worth of food, supplies, backups, etc. It is
important to be prepared but even more important to be PROPERLY
prepared.

Pace Yourself

6. Pace Yourself – This race is hilly but that first hill is just
brutal — it goes up and up and up — don’t get discouraged but make
sure to pace yourself, you’ll get to the crest if you work at it but
make sure to take you time and breathe…

Enjoy It!

5  Enjoy it. What a clichéd statement but this race is an adventure
and one that not many people get to do so have fun. We did it, loved
it!

 

Feel free to come back to me with any specific questions and hope my information helps someone…

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PEAK SNOWSHOE ULTRA, MARATHON & FUN RUN

READ: PREPPING FOR THE 100 MILE SNOWSHOE

READ: SNOWSHOE TRAINING: without snow, training naked & don’t be afraid of snowshoes

READ: ADVICE FROM A 5X SNOWSHOE MARATHONER

 

Training Advice from a 5x Snowshoe Marathoner

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Written by Racer Patrick Deware

I’ve been able to do the Peak Snowshoe Marathon 5x (might be 6x) over the years and have had an absolute blast doing this race, everytime laughing at myself for running a snowshoe marathon.

Training tips:

Snowshoe recommendations –

Atlas snowshoes or Dion are both great brands that I use. I also use extension poles for longer runs (10Miles+) as it helps me with cadence of keeping upper body and lower body moving in rhythm.

Footwear recommendations-

I’m on my second pair of Salomon Goretex trail shoes with Climate Shield that you can look up on any of the outdoor sites for pricing (backcountry or moosejaw) and work very well on race day. They are a weather proof trail running shoe that enables you to move freely within the snowshoes and not have to wear a heavier shoe or small boot. I also use smart-wool socks as well as Outdoor Research goretex gaiters to keep snow out of ankles etc…I typically swap out my socks after the second loop as well as a few layers. There’s nothing better then dry feet and layers going into the last two loops.

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Layers recommendations-

DO NOT OVERDRESS! A couple of years ago it was -6 at the start and I saw people at the starting line with down puffy jackets! And they had their water bottles on hip belts outside their jackets (exposed to cold temp) or Camelbacks packs. They were overheated within 20-30 minutes and at the stone hut up top they were sweating way too much, overheated and their water bottles were frozen solid!

I wear 3-4 layers depending on the temps on race morning and what’s forecasted. Everything is breathable with 3/4 zip so you can ventilate as needed and any softshell jackets I wear I ensure they have armpit zips for ventilation as well. I highly recommend a vest as opposed to fully shell for at least the first few loops as you’ll be looking to keep your core warm but your arms with 2-3 layers already on them will be fine as you heat up.

I bring a rubbermaid bin to the race with extra set up of all clothes, socks as well as a fix it kit with zip ties, duct tape etc and a couple of thin running beanies and very light running gloves. I find that as I am slower on the 3rd & 4th loop it’s more enjoyable with dry clothes so I always change my waist up and socks heading into the 3rd lap.

Feel free to come back to me with any specific questions and hope my information helps someone…

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PEAK SNOWSHOE ULTRA, MARATHON & FUN RUN

READ: PREPPING FOR THE 100 MILE SNOWSHOE

READ: SNOWSHOE TRAINING: without snow, training naked & don’t be afraid of snowshoes