How to Stick to Your Winter Running Routine By Mel Oliver
Running in the winter months can be tough – there’s no denying that! However, it can also be exhilarating and surprisingly enjoyable; if you want to get out there and run, the weather shouldn’t stop you (within reason).
I am not a cold weather person. In fact, I am one of those annoying people who is always cold; thus, I have come up with four top tips for braving the elements…
1. Lunchtime Laps
Although I am known for being an early bird, the cold, dark mornings are not always an enticing time to run. Incorporating some of my runs during my lunch break is a great way of avoiding this, whilst also dosing up on some natural daylight which is much needed during the winter months.
Do what works for you – if you’re nor a morning person, don’t force yourself to run in the morning. Find the warmest time of day and enjoy that sweet, crisp winter sunshine.
2. Keep safe!
If you opt to run before or after work during the winter months, it’s highly likely that it will be dark – thus, visibility is key. Ensure that your running clothes are reflective and/or fluorescent. Don’t be shy about looking like a crazy explorer - wear a head torch and light up the streets like a Christmas tree! This will ensure that motorists and cyclists see you from a distance.
If possible, stick to well-lit, well-populated areas and try to schedule any early morning or evening runs with a friend or your local running club.
Another safety precaution I take during the winter months is ditching my headphones when running alone. I am notoriously bad at multi-tasking, and it’s important to maintain a strong awareness of your surroundings on a cold, dark run.
3. Stay toasty, but not too toasty
Running in the bitter cold is a lot more appealing if you have the right gear to keep you warm and snug. Ensure to layer up and wear gloves; I, like many others, suffer from Raynaud’s, therefore wearing a robust pair of running gloves (ideally mittens) is key.
A headband/cap can also be beneficial, as a large proportion of your body heat is lost through your head.
Although it’s important to conserve your body heat, don’t forget that your body will quickly warm up once you start running. Weather dependent, I would say it takes me around 10 minutes to warm up in icier temperatures, and that’s where layering really comes in handy!
Finally, try to change your clothes quickly at the end of your run; your core temperature will drop almost immediately upon finishing your workout; thus, the priority is to get into something warm and dry.
4. Find your winter motivation
You’ve probably heard this one before, but I find that in winter it is particularly important to focus on what motivates you as an individual.
Although this looks different for everyone, a great way to keep motivated is to register for races. You may already be signed up for a spring marathon or 10k, therefore setting some additional short-term goals is never a bad idea! These could be small, local races or a large-scale festive Santa run…find an event that inspires and excites you.
Parkruns are another great way of holding yourself accountable – they are fun, well-organised and free!
I hope I’ve provided a bit of inspiration to help you stay motivated to run this winter. Running on a treadmill can be slightly soul destroying (in my opinion!); although it may be cold and blustery outside, try not to go into hibernation – you’ve got this!