It feels as though the temperature suddenly dropped as soon as the clocks went back. Winter has arrived and the winter weather is coming. Going for a run might be the last thing you feel like doing, but just because the weather’s getting poorer and the days are getting shorter doesn’t mean you should stop running.
Even though you’d much rather curl up in front of the fire, running in winter isn’t as bad as it seems once you’re prepared for it.
Here are our top tips for running through the Winter:
1. Find Something to Motivate Yourself
Be it a reward system, a target or a running buddy, find a reason for running that will get you up and out even when you don’t feel like it.
Some like to think of the feeling of accomplishment afterwards, some like to think of the post-run chocolate bar in front of the fire – either way, you WILL feel better after a run, even if it’s just a quick sprint around the block.
Book a race, and that way you’ll have something to work towards. There are loads of running events at the weekend, and numerous seasonal turkey runs throughout the festive season. Find one that suits you and get training for it.
If you find yourself falling off the wagon, get a running buddy to keep you accountable. Don’t let conflicting schedules or locations stop you – link up your running tracker with your friend’s, family member’s or workmate’s and compare your progress. If you have a competitive streak, beating your buddy’s steps and getting gloating rights will be motivating enough to get out in the cold and work up a sweat.
2. Wear the Right Footwear
The only thing worse than cold feet is wet AND cold feet. If your feet are dry and warm, you’re more likely to feel better all over.
Invest in waterproof or at least water-resistant running shoes. This way, if you accidentally sidestep into a puddle you won’t be squelching all the way home. Ensure that your running shoes have a good grip on the soles also. That way you’ll be less likely to slip if you encounter a shaded icy section of your route.
Socks are key, and worth paying that little bit extra for. No matter how expensive or fancy your shoes are, you can’t escape blisters if you’re wearing the wrong socks. Look for a fabric that is quick-drying and breathable, preferably with arch support.
3. Dress properly
Once you get moving you’ll feel warmer than you think. If you’re too wrapped up you might get overheated and have to cut your run short.
Layers are key. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust your clothes as you get warmer or cooler. Ensure your outermost layer protects you from wind and rain. A hat and running gloves are a good idea as they will help to retain heat, but can also be stuffed into your pocket if you’re feeling warmer.
4. Be Seen
Wear bright colours and hi-vis, even if it’s still bright out when you start your run. Not only could the day become darker as you run, but it could also become foggy.
Keep yourself and others safe by ensuring that you’re visible on the road. Have a hi-vis jacket or armbands in your gear bag at all times.
Make sure you warm up your body gradually before exercising. Jog on the spot or do a few burpees or exercises before you leave, or quickly whizz around the house doing a spot of cleaning to get your heart rate up. Not only will you be less likely to get an injury, but you’ll arrive home with one less job to do.
6. Stay Hydrated
Sometimes when running in colder, damper weather you might not feel thirsty. If you don’t like to carry a water bottle during your run, make sure you’re getting water into your system before and after it.
7. Get out of your running clothes ASAP post-run
Once you stop exercising you will cool down very quickly. It is important to get out of wet clothes straight after your run, and if possible have a warm shower or a hot cup of tea.
Even if you’re tired, sort out your gear so that it’s ready for your next run. Put newspaper in your shoes to dry them out. This way, you’ll have no silly excuses to stop you from running the next day.
8. Be Safe
Keep an eye on weather warnings, and if it’s not safe to go out, opt for the treadmill or a home workout. Use your own judgement and stay safe.
If you’re prepared for the weather, you’re less likely to skip out on your run and less likely to fall off the running grind.
Imagine indulging throughout silly season guilt-free, knowing that you’ve put the kilometres in to allow for the monumental amount of Quality Street and Christmas Pud.
It is much easier to maintain your fitness than to lose it and build it up again come January – you’ll thank yourself later.
Check out our Top Tips for Running in the Rain.