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Snowshoeing for Cross-Training

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If snowdrifts, icy roads and cold hard pavement have you down in mid-winter, strap on a pair of snowshoes. They'll provide you with a workout that is not just similar to running, but actually is running -- only more strenuous and with very little impact. Normally winter running means slowing down to avoid slipping and sliding, but snowshoeing lets you pick up the pace and push yourself.

While it's easy to learn, snowshoeing takes a lot of effort. You'll work all the same muscle groups that you would while running but you'll also give plenty of extra work to your quadriceps. Ease into it. If you typically run an 8-minute mile, you will probably run about a 10-minute mile in snowshoes and find your heartrate at its upper training limit.

Many have an image of snowshoes as gigantic, ungainly wooden contraptions in which running seems tough to imagine. But through the miracles of modern technology, sport snowshoes are relatively compact (about two feet long and one foot wide) and made of lightweight aluminum. Strap your running shoes into the binding and just run. The wide surface of the snowshoes keep you from sinking more than three or four inches in the snow, and steel cleats provide good traction. The resistance as you pull your foot up, coupled with the necessary high kneelifts make for quite a workout.

There's not much more to it except to enjoy floating over snowdrifts and through winter scenery that few others are able to enjoy.


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