I get it, it’s winter and we all want to be snuggled up indoors by the fire, feeling Christmassy. Motivation to run out in the cold is non-existent. Well, not all is lost, as I am here to give you guys some tips on how to tackle the cold, windy and rainy, perhaps snowy weather of winter running!
Firstly, one way of approaching winter running is to treat it as your foundation training. Perhaps you enjoy running competitions, perhaps not. However, treating winter running as your foundation work gets your prepared for the spring and summer. Think of winter training as your strength and aerobic base work. Try including some hills and mixed terrain trails, making it hard work for those useful legs of yours, as well as core strength and glute activation! Come spring and summer, you will be loving it, you’ll be running longer and further than ever!
Read my post on The Art Of Barefoot Running and stretches you should be doing for barefoot running
Some people will opt for the treadmill, whilst is it a good starter, it is nowhere near as good as getting out there and embracing nature. Steering away from the physical aspects of winter running, there are a lot of people that find winter depressing. Now we all know that any form of exercise is a great way to improve mental health so don’t put those trainers away just yet! Get out there and enjoy it, don’t push yourself too hard, don’t worry about how fast or far you go, just get out and run and see where you end up. You won’t regret it!
GET THE RIGHT KIT!
KIT KIT KIT. You must invest in quality running kit, especially for winter! It’s no good running in the nude (mainly because it’s illegal) but having the right kit will keep you warm and wick all that sweat away, keeping you cool but not cold! Make sure you have good quality trainers, leggings, shorts or tracksuit bottoms, underlayers, t-shirt and pull-over top, coat and perhaps hat and gloves too. If you want me to do a winter running essentials blog, let me know!
BE SAFE AND SENSIBLE!
It’s that time of year where it starts getting dark a lot earlier, terrain is more slippery and less visibility, all of which pose risks to runners. Here are a couple tips to stay safe and be sensible in winter:
- Avoid extreme weather. If it’s pelting it down with rain, be sensible about whether you run or not, at the end of the day, do you want to put yourself at increased risk of injury just for a run, when you can go when its calmed down.
- Time of day. As I previously mentioned, it gets dark a lot earlier during winter. Think about running during daytime when it’s light. If you can’t run during the day, schedule longer runs on the days you can. Work around it. If you have no option but to run in the dark, be careful. Wear a head torch, wear high-vis clothing, stick to well-lit areas and perhaps run with a partner.
FOODDDDDDD AND DRINK! Aka Nutrition
Please, please, please! Be mindful of your nutrition. It’s so important to make sure you are fuelling your body, hydrating, and allowing your body to recover so you can excel through winter rather than dragging yourself through!
- Make sure you have enough energy! How you perform is determined by your energy levels. Get yourself an energy gel before you run, take some on the run with you if it’s a longer run. Eat a balanced diet. Make sure you get all your fruit and veg in during the day and do what works for you!
- Hydration. People often don’t realise how much to drink before a run, after and for the rest of the day. Wake up and rink 500ml or a pint of water. Drink about 150ml, 15 minutes before you run (works for me, may not work for you) If you plan on going for a longer run, take water with you, either a bottle of camelbak to replace lost electrolytes. After your run, replace all the sweat lost by re-hydrating. For every kilogram of bodyweight you lose in sweat, you must drink 1.5litres of fluid. Try drinking 500ml in the first 30 minutes post run and then keeping drink sips every 5 – 10 minutes until you reach you target. Then aim to drink at least 3 litres for men and 2 litres for women throughout the day (different targets for everyone).
- Recovery. This is key all year round, especially winter when you muscles are mostly cold. Nutrition helps aid recover so it’s important to eat good foods. Make sure you’re warming up and cooling down properly too. I have a blog on what stretches to do for running. Getting a good nights sleep is the most important so put that phone down, get off your games console and relax an hour before you go to bed, it helps!
- Supplements. You can’t get all your dietary needs from foods alone, unless you eat like horse. Supplements are your friend as long as you research and know which ones you need. Vitamin D, B12, C, fish oils, multi-vitamins etc. They give you those extra vitamin and minerals your body needs.
Finally, ENJOY IT! Running is fun, so make sure you have fun and enjoy it. Don’t make it feel like a chore or that you need to go running. It should be a natural action to go running. Thank you for reading, I hope you have taken some good tips from this blog.
Let me know how you get on!
Happy Winter Running! ZH
Any Questions, feel free to ask!