The Sno-cone Sprint

winter running

Winter running is a different beast, that much is true. There are many different factors you have to consider when heading out into the Arctic surface of Calgary (even in May). The air is colder, your muscles and lungs react differently and your water that you brought with you freezes. Let’s talk about water…or lack thereof in this case.

About to embark on a tasty 16 k run, I felt confident, like a Titan in sea breeze and ocean mist sailing to conquer new lands. Or like the tall guys in the Lorax who made a fortune making Thneeds.

I started the 16 k run feeling good, water bottle in hand. 1, 5, 7 kilometers go by and I didn’t even take a sip of my water. The path was mine and I was tearing it up. I reach 9 k and go to take a sip of my water but I realize the worst has cometh. My water bottle is a brick of ice. Hmmmm….

So I brainstorm. I screwed the lid off and licked the ice…not the hydration I was looking for. Apparently rubbing your tongue across a large ice cube like a puppy dog doesn’t offer a satisfactory level of liquid after running 9000 meters.

Then it hits me! “Well look around Chad! There is hydration everywhere! Hydration falls from the sky!” So I divert off the beaten path and crouch down behind some trees like Gollum from Lord of the Rings in his cave dwelling and start eating all the snow I can shovel into my face.

“I am brilliant! I should win an award for my brilliance,” I think to myself. I start running again, super dehydrated and believing that snow is the answer. Every half a kilometer, I briefly stop and look both ways for judgemental onlookers. Once the coast is clear, I avoid all signs of yellow snow and chow down on the white, fluffy goodness like a badger in the night.

When I get home, I am shaky and not feeling overly well. The dehydration seems to not be solved with my ingenious snow burgers. HOW COULD THIS BE?!

As it turns out, eating snow actually dehydrates a person further because the energy it takes your body to melt the snow is actually more than the liquid you are retaining from said snow muffin.

My advice?

1. Don’t eat snow when you run as it is not beneficial (and you look silly).

2. Don’t use a hydrapack as the water in the outer tube will freeze in under 15 minutes.

3.  Add Gatorade crystals to your water. The water will take much longer to freeze.

4. Use a large water bottle. The more water present in the container, the longer it takes to freeze


Don’t be a night badger or Gollum in the woods. Stay hydrated and stay safe.