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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.


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



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

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

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


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



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



Training Advice from a 5x Snowshoe Marathoner


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.


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…



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


Advice for Snowshoe Training Without Snow, Naked and more…

For Peak Snowshoe Racers by Peak Snowshoe Racers.

Here’s how some of you are training for the Peak Snowshoe Ultra, Marathon & Fun Run.


Training Without Snow – Stacey Eggers

Stacey Eggers offers these suggestions for training without snow, and for the odd looks you may get while doing it: “The best training advice I have is to run hilly, muddy steep trails. (We do not have snow) so the best is to get thick heavy mud and run as many hills possible. To know the fit of your snowshoes, try to train and run in a thick grassy field with snowshoes on. It will take some adjustments to get the right feel. Be sure to wave at everyone you see, they will be very curious, if they stop to see if you need help just ask them to point in the direction of snow.”


Train Naked? – Ashley Waddell

We won’t say we endorse this training method, but we won’t say we don’t either… Ashley Waddell has the following suggestions:

Prep for the Cold

Make sure you do some portion of your snowshoeing training naked (or as scantily clad as possible) so that your skin is well “cold conditioned” by the time you arrive in Vermont.

Strengthen Your Core

Core work is your friend. Whether you do pull-ups, push-ups, planks, burpees, leg raises, or something else entirely, know that you’ll use your core the whole time: climbing up the hill, stabilizing yourself on the steep descents, and laughing heartily with other racers at the finish line.

Keep Your Toes Warm

Gear-wise: breathable shoe covers (like these from Pearl Izumi) do a good job of keeping your toes from freezing (even if they get wet), so you can say “Bring it on!” and lose any excuse you might think you have not to go out for that 3rd or 4th or 13th loop.


Don’t Be Afraid of the Snowshoes, It’s just like Running – Pat Gouker

If you’ve never run in snowshoes, don’t worry, Pat Gouker reminds us: “Running in snowshoes is just like running w/o minor technique changes wider stance, higher knees. watch for clipping your ankles on the side of the shoes.
Hard pack running will be easier and faster than soft pack running.  Wear the snowshoes to get used to how they feel and how you feel with them on.”

We have More Tips Coming. Keep checking back!

READ: Michelle Roy’s advice on training, nutrition, warmth and gear for the 100 Mile snowshoe.




Snowshoe Ultra Advice: Cold Weather Hydration, Fuel, Layers and Footwear

Peak Races is more than a race series, Peak is a community of athletes determined to test, transform and improve themselves every day.  We reached out to you for training tips and have been overwhelmed by the response.  This is the first in a series of posts that will help you prepare for the Peak Snowshoe, whatever distance you choose.


Our first training recommendations come from Michelle Roy, an rock star in the Peak Races lore!

Snowshoe Race Advice – 100 mile race

First off I think I have some good ideas based on the fact I have 4 prior tries at the 100 under my belt with the most being 84 miles.   The year I went 84 miles I was the only person out overnight while the rest of the racers hunkered down in the horse barn.  The reason I was able to continue in the frigid cold was because I brought BIG PUFF.  Big Puff is my husband Bob’s gigantic parka he used when climbing Denali.  It is soooo big on me it goes beyond my looks like I am running (snowshoeing that is) in a sleeping bag.   So make sure you have the biggest warmest coat on hand if you need it.

Michelle in her coat “Big Puffy”

Snowshoe Footwear

My second bit of advice is do not wear sneakers.  The year I wore sneakers with my Dion snowshoes I had a blister after one loop the size of an apple on my heel. I went 72 miles that year and the pain was excruciating.  Wear comfortable hiking boots lightweight ones that cover your heel (go high) do not wear leather hiking boots they get too heavy when wet.  I have Asolos that are AWESOME.


Cold Weather Hydration

My third bit of advice is to not eat yellow snow (just kidding). It is actually to be aware that your water pack or water bottle will probably freeze.  It did for me one year in the middle of the first 6 mile loop!! There were coconut waters on hand in cardboard boxes so I dropped my pack and ran the rest of the race with a coconut water down the front of my tights.  I am not was the only way to keep any liquid warm enough…you could also put a water bottle in the top of your sports bra between your boobs or if you are a guy just in the waistband of your tights.  It actually was not uncomfortable at all and I had enough to drink grabbing one bottle a loop.


Cold Weather Layering

Fourth NO COTTON ANYTHING.  Seriously.  Many people start off going fast and feeling great but we all know as you add on the miles you will get tired…your body no matter how hard you are working will get cold as you probably will slow down your pace.  This is not so much for the 6 milers and maybe not for the fastest marathoners, but for those of you mid to back packers you want to be smart.  Where a waterproof/windproof (light) outer layer that you can easily pull up to your neck like a scarf or over your head like a cool swami hat for those ups when you feel like you are sweating buckets….when you find yourself going down and or are on the side of the mountain with no sun you can easily pull that jacket down when you start to get chilly


Snowshoe Ultra Fuel and Nutrition

Fifth I firmly believe in eating real food and not gels or goo or horrific bars filled with stuff you can’t pronounce.  I like to buy 2 egg mcmuffins sandwiches…with bacon on them no cheese. They are so awesome even when cold.  In between I have something a bit sweeter like pb&j or I personally do like cookie dough Balance bars as they are the only bars that do not cause me to fart up a storm.  I try to eat for my size (5’4” 116) 150-250 calories a loop after I finish the marathon distance.  For a marathon distance I eat far less…maybe one or two cookie dough bars and or pretzels (I am partial to them).  For a 6 miler I would eat nothing while doing it unless I was walking the entire thing.  I would bring something yummy for a stop and a picture on top of Joe’s Mountain.

And last but not least bring a stone with you.  Write the name of someone you love and miss or someone who needs some extra love and prayers sent their way…place the stone at a spot that tickles your fancy and add a little magic to the mountain : )


Submitted by Michelle Roy


Thursday January 21 we’re giving an EXTRA $15 to Vermont Foodbank!


Here’s the deal: for one day only (Thursday January 21st)  we’re increasing the amount we donate to the Vermont Foodbank from $5 per ticket to $20 per ticket!

The snow’s here, now it’s time to make a commitment! Get your 2016 Peak Snowshoe Race tickets Thursday Januray 21st. 

This year we’re supporting the Vermont Foodbank, $5 from every ticket we sell will go to their efforts to feed hungry Vermonters, but if you buy your ticket today we’ll give them $20.


The Peak Snowshoe Race has 4 distances, from 10k to 100 miles, to choose from.  The race takes place on Pittsfield, Vermont’s stunning Green Mountain Trails.  The course will be a rugged 6.5 mile loop in the Green Mountains of Vermont.  Each loop has 1200 vertical.

While you’re in Pittsfield, Vermont make a weekend of it: book a room at the Amee Farm Lodge or Trailside Inn, enjoy a hearty breakfast and fresh juices at the General Store, and if you get a reservation early enough book an exclusive dinner at The Backroom.  Within a 15 minute drive you’ll find Alpine Skiing at Pico and Killington ski resorts.