I love this photo. I had this feeling, I’m sure you know it, when you are just loving your run and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I only did a shortish loop from lower Leysin village (Switzerland), up to Solyacyre at 1848m and back down, I’m guessing about 7 miles. The weather was average as there was a storm coming in. Still, running alone in the mountains can be great fun.
Basic tips for winter mountain runs
– The weather in the mountains can change very quickly. Unless you’re staying close to home, always take a wind and waterproof jacket, even if its just a light shell.
– Layering is key. Merino wool is my favourite. Bare in mind that whilst base layers are breathable, a 100% waterproof jacket is not. Keep warm but don’t let yourself get too hot. If you start sweating it will be trapped inside your jacket and you’ll be in for a cold run home.
– Try and take gloves and a buff or hat with you.
– If you carry poles, are prone to faff around with your phone/garmin/camera or just get cold hands, take wind proof gloves. Even better, take gloves with a windproof overlay so that you can slip them on when you get to an exposed area.
– Try and run with a slightly stiffer trail shoe, possibly with some ankle support, if you are running in changeable snow. If you suddenly break through the crust it’s nice to have that support. I don’t like Gore Tex trainers normally as they don’t let your feet breath but they are perfect for cold, snowy conditions.
– Even in dull weather, miles of snow can be hard work on your eyes. Take sunglasses.
– Run like you would downhill, looking 3-4 steps ahead and keeping an eye on the terrain coming up.
– Equally, be observant of the area around you. Keep an eye out for poles or fencing which have been partly snowed over.
– Stop every once in a while and enjoy the view!