The poor snow conditions experienced across the French Alps this season it might have meant less money filling the coffers of the ski companies, but it has proved to a be real bonus for trail runners like us – what isn’t covered in snow is better for running!
While running in snow and wintry conditions is good for helping stability and core strength, when the snow is virtually an ice sheet (see Jo’s review of Kahtoola Spikes for gripping on ice) or when you sink up to our knees with each step, it not only hinders running, but can cause and exacerbate running injuries. It is my continued running when the snow was here that has caused my iliotibial band syndrome to keep flaring up.
As far as training for the Endurance Life Classic Quarter is concerned, I’m thrilled to bits the pistes and paths are almost clear of snow., the most exciting aspect of it all is the emergence of the wonderful alpine flowers. Their delicate beauty belies the fact they’ve been buried under a huge weight of snow for 5 months, yet sublime they emerge. Running through a carpet of alpine flowers really does remind me why I run trails and not tarmac. Yet there is a serious undertone to the unseasonably warm temperatures this year and that is the impact of climate change.
While being able to run on pistes and paths earlier than I should be is a good thing for me, the speed at which climate change might affect the natural rhythm is a worry as nature will struggle to adapt over such short timescales. I believe it is paramount to respect and conserve the flora, fauna and landscapes we are privileged to be enjoying in our outdoor activities and if this means lifestyle changes, then they should be embraced with a focus on the positive opportunities they present.