Shorter days and colder temperatures don’t mean you have to put up your running shoes in Central Oregon.
We chatted with Bend professional distance runner Max King about tips for staying fit and fast during the winter months. King, a man of many talents, also owns and operates the Bend Marathon and Half with his business partner Kari Strang (see sidebar).
Max King’s Winter Running Tips
Head East: When it’s snowing on the west side of town, in general the trails and roads east of town are free of precipitation,” King says. “Horse Butte, the Badlands, and Smith Rock are great options for trails for hiking, running, and biking.”
Learn to Layer: First figure out if you run warm or cold, and then find the right layers for you. Personally, I hate cold fingers, so as long as I have the right warmth of glove then I’m good. I also find that a good running vest is an often overlooked option. My core generally gets cold, but my arms don’t, so I like having a vest. I have different layers for about every 10-15 degrees of temperature change to make sure I stay warm but don’t sweat through all my layers and end up cold by the end of the run.
Get Creative: In the winter you can really get stuck in a rut just running on a treadmill inside or the same snow-free route outside. I like to do my easy runs on snow or varied routes outside and stick to the treadmill for my intense workouts. I find it less boring to do the hard work on the treadmill than the easy stuff.
Light it Up: Lighting technology has come a long way in the past five years and there are very bright lights that are comfortable to wear and make running in the dark both safe and inviting. Check out the new Petzl Iko Core Light. It’s pretty versatile. If you’re running the road there are several options that also have a built-in red rear light so that cars can see you from behind.
Screws-in-the-shoes vs. Yaktrax: Both are great options but serve slightly different purposes. Screws are great for days where you are running on hard surface and don’t want to accidentally end up on your rear by hitting a patch of hidden ice. The Yaktrax are great for giving more traction in a packed snow surface like a packed snow-covered road or trail.
Stay Safe with the Stroller: This is a tough one but the main thing is to make sure conditions are safe and you have good traction on your shoes so that you can stay in control of the stroller.
Cross-training: Outside biking during the winter is difficult but it can be done. Personally, I prefer to switch over to the skis and do a lot of Alpine Touring or Ski Touring (uphill/downhill skiing). Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are great options as well.
The ever-popular Bend Marathon and Half, one of the largest running events in Central Oregon, is slated to take place April 18, 2021.
Now in its seventh year – the event was held virtually in 2020- the Bend Marathon and Half also includes 10K and 5K races. More than 2,400 runners participated in the event’s various distances in 2019.
The Bend Marathon and Half will go on in 2021 in some format, organizers Max King and Kari Strang say. If a fully functioning physical race with no restrictions isn’t possible, the event could utilize wave starts and limit social interactions at the start and finish of each race. An entirely virtual event similar to 2020 would be a last resort.
Register and get the latest updates on the 2021 Bend Marathon and Half