Let's get this out right up front - I'm not a fan of snow. I don't mind looking at it, but as for shoveling it and driving in it, you can have it. And up until this year, I wanted no part of running in it.
But 2012 is a new year, and I figured if I wanted to become a serious runner, I'd have to run in all conditions. So after Christmas, I ventured over to my local Potomac River Running store to find a set of YakTrax. PR doesn't carry YakTrax; instead, they carry a similar product called Ice Trekkers, which the fine people there recommend over YakTrax.
The set costs $40, and it's basically a rubber gasket with what I suppose you could call spiked chains that go over the treads of your running shoes (see picture). I've heard that with any type of device like this, you should try to stay off asphalt, as it could reduce the effectiveness of the treads.
This morning, we here in Northern Virginia, we woke up to around 1 to 2 inches of a slushy, frozen mess on the roads & sidewalks. I had a 3 miler on the schedule today, and to also keep my 58-day run streak going, I had to break out the Ice Trekkers.
I started off my run much more slower and cautious than I normally do. I wanted to get the feel of the Trekkers and make sure they were doing what was advertised. What I found was exactly as I expected: I did not slip once during the entire 3 mile run, and there were some tricky spots on the route. I got good grip both going up hills and down (but again, I was very cautious on the downhills).
What I didn't expect was the beating that my calves took. I suspect it had more to do with running in the crunchy sleet than with using the Ice Trekkers, but I'm not completely sure. But when I got back, I had to use my Stick to roll out my sore calves. I found running in this akin to running in wet sand at the beach. I was fairly tired after running today, even after only 3 miles at an easy pace.
So I will give the Ice Trekkers a Grade of B+; they performed exactly as I expected given the amount and type of snow/ice we got. Using the Ice Trekkers allowed me to get a run in without fear of slipping. I had to work much harder than usual, but by reading other runners' experiences with similar footwear apparati, I'd probably categorize that as something to be expected.
The slop is still out there tonight, and I have 7 miles planned for Sunday morning. It appears that I'll get the chance to use my Ice Trekkers for a longer run tomorrow. My plan is to go to the flatter terrain of the W&OD Trail instead of the rolling hills of north Reston; hopefully that will lessen the wear & tear on my calves.
But if you're in the market for snow-running gear, it wont hurt to get the Ice Trekkers.