Hello, fellow runners! As the winter chill has settled well in, the running enthusiast in me refuses to let the cold weather put a damper on one of my favourite pastimes. Embracing the frosty air, I've compiled a list of my top 10 tips that I have learnt from experience over the years to conquer the track at winter and make your winter runs both enjoyable and effective.
1. Prioritise Warm-up: Start your winter run with some dynamic stretches and glute activations to prepare the body. Investing an extra 10-15 minutes in a pre-run warm up can make a significant difference to how your body feels. If an outdoor warm-up is your only option, bring an extra layer that you can shed during your run.
2. Boost Immune Support: Enhance your winter running routine by incorporating Zest Active by Revive Active into your morning routine. I simply pop a sachet into a glass of water first thing in the morning before my breakfast. Each powdered sachet has 25 powerhouse ingredients to help support your immune system, boost energy levels and improve cognitive function. 8 of these ingredients, including Vit C & D are immune boosting! Follow this up with a good breakfast to help regulate your body temperature, but also ensures you are energised for training!
3. Essential Clothing: Keep a hat and gloves handy during the winter months. Even just wearing a headband over your ears can help contribute to an overall sense of warmth during those gruelling winter training sessions. They are also compact enough to stash in your crop top or pockets during your run if you happen to get too warm. Remember - it's always better to feel a little too hot than too cold!
4. Adjust Your Training: In frigid temperatures, shift your focus from short, intense intervals to longer reps with shortened recovery periods. Prioritise strength and endurance workouts over high-speed activities. There's no need for flat out sprints in freezing temperatures! I always recommend incorporating 'active' recoveries between intervals to help keep your body moving.
5. Fuel Your Motivation: Combat slumps in motivation by setting a goal or entering a race. Whether it's reaching a specific weekly mileage target by a certain date or aiming for a personal best at an upcoming parkrun, having a tangible goal acts as a powerful motivator. Treat it as a dangling carrot, providing the extra boost needed to stay committed and to keep moving during the colder months.
6. Embrace Layering: Make friends with base layers during your winter runs. Ensuring your core stays warm by adding an underlayer or even a gilet can be a game-changer. These options are lightweight and more manageable than wearing something big and bulky. Prioritise your comfort alongside warmth!
7. Stay Visible: As the dark nights encroach, it's important to ensure you're easily seen. Opt for bright clothing, preferably something like a hi-vis, to enhance visibility for motorists and cyclists. Lots of running brands have winter clothing with reflective features around the body so that you can be seen during low light.
8. Stay Alert: Opt for bone conducting headphones when running solo; their open-ear design allows you to hear your surroundings alongside your favourite running tunes. Choose routes on pavements or cycle paths and try to steer clear of unlit roads as much as possible for added safety.
9. Illuminate Your Run: Don't overlook the importance of a head torch during your winter runs. It serves a dual purpose: firstly, providing clear visibility of the road or trail, reducing the risk of tumbles, and secondly, enhancing your visibility to others. Consider it a crucial accessory when running in more remote dark locations.
10. Weather Check: Stay ahead by checking the weather; it's best to be ready for any surprises. Planning can ensure you wear the right clothing. And if outdoor conditions seem icy, having access to a treadmill is a luxury, providing a safer alternative. For those without a gym, ensure your shoes have the right grip to navigate potentially slippery surfaces!
Embracing winter runs is about more than conquering the cold – it's a testament to your dedication and resilience as a runner. I hope you have found these tips useful.