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6 Tips for successful winter running

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6 Tips for successful winter running

6 Suggestions to help you with your running this winter

Winter running sucks - it’s cold, wet, and the last thing you want to do before or after work…

Running during the winter months if far from ideal, especially if you’re logging some serious mileage. However, it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom, shivering your way to a new personal best, and spending countless hours under spotlights and in the rain, snow, hail, and wind.

To help you on your way to a successful winter running season, I’ve compiled six winter running tips, beginning with a simple, but often skipped task: warming-up before hitting the road or trails.

This article is by Matthew from Running101. Running101 provides quality training tips, running advice, the latest running news, and the very best running gear.

Warming up before running

Far too often, many of us runners are guilty of skipping a warmup. Whether short on time or quite simply “can’t be bothered,” you will pay the price in winter if you can’t muster up the energy to get the heart beating before stomping the pavement.

If possible, I recommend warming up inside, as this will keep you warm before running. Ideally, perform various dynamic stretches, including leg swings, butt kicks, and the jog to quad stretch. Five to ten-minutes of intense but controlled dynamic stretching is great, warming up the whole body, reducing your risk of injury, and getting your engine running, much like a beat-up car on a cold, wintery day.

If you’re performing an interval session or tempo run, or other faster pace efforts, ensure to run an easy warm-up jog beforehand. This too reduces your risk of injury and prepares your body for the intensity that is to follow.

As always, after you’ve finished your run or workout, perform several static stretches, such as the standing hamstring and calf stretch, and toe touches.

Be prepared and dress for the weather this winter

When running during the winter months, it’s important to dress for the weather. Consider investing in a couple of thermals, three-quarter zips, and a high-viz jacket, increasing visibility to oncoming traffic and other road users during low light conditions.

If possible, wear brighter colours, think: oranges, yellows, pinks, and greens to further increase visibility.

Before each run, check the weather forecast - this allows you to best prepare. If it’s scheduled to rain, bring a lightweight waterproof with you, either tying this around your waist, wearing it or holding it until the clouds break and the rain pours.

Reward yourself for running

Sometimes, when the rain is pouring, the wind is blowing, and the temperature is below freezing, we need a little extra motivation to get out the door and train. In these scenarios, consider rewarding yourself for running.

Whether that’s something small such as a hot bath, a bar of chocolate, or something a little more functional, such as a new running watch, pair of socks, or thermal is up to you. However, save the rewards for when you really need them, it’ll make them all the worthwhile and provide you with that little kick up the backside you need to get out the door occasionally.

Over at Running101, we’ve just put together an extensive list of Christmas gifts, a great reward for yourself or that runner in your life - be sure to check it out!

Prepare for the winter rain

Arguably the worst part about running in the winter is the rain. However, if you can accept the fact that you’re going to get wet, running in the rain isn’t all that bad. In fact, running in the rain while others are warm inside provides you with a mental edge, a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

When stomping puddles, ensure to plan your route ahead of time, protect your electronics using zip-locked bags or deep waterproof pockets, and most importantly, change out of your wet running clothes immediately once finished. This reduces your risk of hypothermia - a condition more common than you may think, it’s not exclusive to the arctic circle.

Run with a friend or training partner/group

When the nights get darker and the cold hits, there’s going to be plenty of nights or early mornings where you don’t feel like running. To help combat the warm and comfy bed or blanket on the sofa, consider running with a friend, training partner, or running group.

Running with others increases motivation as you’re placing a commitment. Agree to meet at a certain time early/late and stick to this. Motivate each other through the depths of the winter months and by Autumn - you’ll be faster and stronger runners, both mentally and physically.

Opt for the treadmill

Sometimes, it’s just too cold, too wet, or too rainy. In these circumstances, it’s best to opt for the treadmill, as mind-numbing as it may be. Keeping you dry and allowing you to stick to your splits, the treadmill is a great option for faster running, or equally, those 30-minute recovery jogs.

You can mix it up too, running interval sessions, tempo runs, long runs (if you’re brave enough), or other faster efforts inside. If you’re not the biggest fan of the treadmill, consider it a last-ditch effort, allowing you to still get a run in whilst many others won’t.

To conclude

Running during the winter months is tough, especially when the rain pours and the wind picks up, not to mention the darker nights.