As soon as the clocks go back, the air gets cooler and the sky gets darker I have to summon up every ounce of will power to stop myself from hanging up my running shoes till Spring. I absolutely hate running in the winter. Some runners thrive in cold weather conditions but that is just not me. I just feel cold, grumpy and because my muscles take a while to warm up it just feels like hard work. But, I got a few big races coming up at start of spring which means I really can’t afford to skip those 800m Yasso’s because it’s too cold. Or skip a long run because the sun hasn’t quite risen yet. And, although I’m still not a fan of running in the winter, I have found ways to make it become a little bit more bearable and here is how you can too.
When it comes to winter training, never underestimate the power of layering! It might be cold when you first set off but half way through your 800m repeats it’ll start to feel like you’re in Jamaica. And then of course lets not forget about the touch of frost that hits you as soon as you stop running. Wearing clothes that you can quickly take off and put back on will make winter running a little more comfortable. Some people opt for base layers but I prefer to wear jackets such as the Precision run 3 in 1 jacket from New Balance. This Jacket has 3 layers, which means that as my body warms up, I can keep stripping back the layers to prevent my body temperature from falling too quickly. I am also in love with the berry colour of this Jacket. One of the things I love the most about winter is the fashion and this colour encompasses winter perfectly.
As someone who always feels the cold, I wear long leggings and t-shirts pretty much all year round. People always say to me “but won’t you get hot” but lets be honest, this is England we’re talking about! I know lots of people still like to wear shorts in the winter, which is fine if you’re body can handle it. But if you’re like me and feel your body turning to ice once the temperatures hit below 12 degrees, having winter running clothes will help you to defrost. I have recently been trying out New Balance’s A/W 17 collection and I instantly noticed that the leggings are much more thicker than the ones I am used to running in. This is perfect for winter because it means that they keep my legs warm and because they fit like a glove it feels like they are giving my muscles a warm hug.
The first time I ever did a night time run was during the Ragnar Relay and I’ll be honest with you, it was quite scary. It was in the middle of a night and although I had a reflective vest on, a head torch and a tail light, I still felt scared. Scared of what? Everything. And with the days getting shorter it means a lot of us have to rack up our miles in the dark. Which is why its so important to wear the right gear. Wearing reflective clothing is a great way to remain stylish yet visible. Try to make sure you have reflectors on both your tops and bottoms to make sure you remain visible at all times. Always make sure you run on a path and if in doubt, grab a friend so that you can run in comfort.
Heading to the track is another great option for dark winter running. With flood lights everywhere you don’t have to worry about running into something and the track is always full of runners in the winter to keep you company.
One of the reasons why I dislike winter training is because it takes a little longer than i’d like for my muscles to wake up. The first few kms always feel harder than they should do, which often makes me feel demotivated before my run has properly begun. Taking an extra 5 minutes to do some dynamic stretching will help you to loosen your muscles up to prevent injury and help you reach race pace from the word go. Make sure you do dynamic stretching for your warm up and not static. Dynamic streching will help prepare the body for movement. Google “world greatest stretch” and you’ll love me forever.
Join a run club
It takes a village to raise a child and community to get a runner to the finish line (something like that), so I’ve recently joined London Brunch Club to help get me through the dreaded long runs. I really struggle with long runs because they’re long, boring , slow and did I mention long? Come January, as a bid to stop me from pressing snooze when my Alarm goes off for that all important long run, I’m turning to London Brunch Club to help get me through those all important miles. If you really struggle to do your long runs, speed runs or casual runs in the cold, have a look on social media or the internet to see if you can find a local run club near you.
Hop on a treadmill
On the days when its wet, cold and windy I don’t even bother taking my running outside. Whats the point? I’d hate every second of it so instead I hop on the treadmill and put the work in indoors instead. There’s nothing wrong with swapping your road runs for the treadmill. I often find treadmills are amazing for pacing. Just makes sure if you’re on the treadmill, you work a little bit harder than you would when you’re running outside as the treadmill does do a bit of the work for you.
I hope one of these tips help you with your winter runs! If you’ve got anymore tips, leave them below.
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