Some gems of wisdom from our friend Charlie Watson at Runner Beans on how to manage your running during the cold of winter.
The frost is lying firmly on the ground, it’s dark when you leave the house and dark again when you return from work, but now is not the time to abandon your running plans or fitness goals.
In fact, the more work you put in over the winter, the easier and more enjoyable those same runs will feel in Spring and Summer. Here’s our top tips for making it through the next few months without locking your trainers away….
Warm up – Ensure that you warm up properly before setting off, a round of star jumps, planks, squats and high knees will ensure your muscles aren’t cold when you start running. Cold weather reduces your muscle contraction and blood flow around the body, meaning that your muscles won’t perform as efficiently when it’s chilly.
Stay seen – If you can, run when it’s light outside however we know that’s not always possible. Ensuring you have reflective strips and bright colours should help you stay safe and seen. Additionally, there are lights you can buy to attach to your shoes, clothes or as a head torch to brighten up your runs – both for you and for those around you.
Sign up for a race – Having something to train for is brilliant motivation to keep you running throughout the colder weather, plus you’re guaranteed a medal for your hard work. Sign up for a 5K or 10K and hope that the colder temperatures will encourage you to pick up the pace on your usual route and make it home quicker.
Safety First – Make sure you tell someone that you’re heading out on a run, and let them know your planned route and timings, Glympse, a free app, will let you share your location for 4hrs. There’s also safety in numbers, so winter can be a great time to buddy up or join a local running group.
Wrap up – ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing’, this is most definitely true when it comes to your fitness gear, and the key to keeping winter training enjoyable. Invest in some good quality thermal leggings, a great waterproof jacket, some headgear and gloves to see you through, no matter what the winter brings.
All about balance – December can be a tough balance between Christmas and New Year parties, and recovery, getting in a quick pre-party run, or a morning after shake out could leave you feeling less jaded at the end of silly season. It’s also easier to lay off the mulled wine when you know you’ve got a workout in the morning…or so we like to think!
Take your run inside – When it’s icy, too dark or just a bit miserable, taking your run to the treadmill is no bad thing. It’s a great opportunity to play with your speeds and inclines, completing shorter workouts to improve your pace when you do hit the roads.