Wednesday, 24th January 2018
Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean your exercise routine should suffer; but there are a few things to bear in mind to make sure you’re prepared for winter running…
Lightweight layers are ideal in winter, as you can remove them if you get too hot. Breathable base layers will wick sweat away from your skin, while mid-layers, such as a thin fleece, will keep you warm. A water-resistant jacket will protect you from the elements too. Cotton soaks up moisture and dries slowly, which will leave you feeling cold. Instead, choose synthetic fabrics designed to keep you dry. Don’t forget a hat and gloves too – they make a real difference when it’s cold.
Whether you run first thing or after work, it’s likely to be dark outside. Staying visible is essential for other people and motorists to see you clearly, even if you stick to well-lit routes - fluorescent or reflective clothing and head torches will do the trick. It’s important to feel safe when running at night. If you’re not comfortable taking to the road after dark, local running tracks are ideal. Complete with staff, flood lights and parking, they’re a safe choice and take the hassle out of planning a route.
If you struggle with motivation, buddy-up with friends or a running group. Organised runs give you an incentive to attend, plus, having someone to chat to makes time fly! Sticking to the same route can become repetitive and less challenging too, so plan new routes together and explore new places.
Whatever the time of year, hydration is key - just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you stop losing fluids while running! You may get away with it on shorter routes, but make sure you take a bottle of water on long runs.
Snow, ice and cold temperatures don’t make winter running easy, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re not setting PBs. Think of winter running as ‘maintenance miles’ rather than fretting over speed – you’re still working hard, even if you’re not going as quick as usual.
Warm ups and cool downs are important to help avoid injuries. Heading into the cold can be a shock to the system, so a quick warm-up before you get going will help. Take a brisk walk to your starting point or perhaps run up and down the stairs – whatever it takes to get your heart rate up and blood pumping. Static stretches are best for cooling down, as they’re ideal for stretching your muscles.
Running is a fantastic way to add cardio into your exercise regime – just make sure you’re well prepared over the cold winter months.