Keep running in the colder months

With temperatures plummeting and the evenings getting darker and darker in the UK – it feels as though winter has arrived extra early!

As a result, running conditions aren’t getting any easier.

The cold weather means your muscles take a lot longer to warm-up and ultimately the risk of injury increases tenfold.

Still, that doesn’t imply you can’t run – even if it is dark when you get up and is even darker in the evenings! Here are some useful tips to ensure you can keep running.

Preparation

Layer up with plenty of clothing but go for thin layers, such as a compression top and moisture wicking material, so you are able to move easily. It’s important to warm-up in an extra garment or two, and then ditch one of them before you run. A hat and gloves are also handy to have.

If you are running at night, consider head, body and feet torches as well as high-viz/bright coloured clothing – making you visible to motorists.

Warming-up

Cold weather can cause muscles to lose more heat and contract – leading to soreness and tightness. It is therefore important to implement a comprehensive warm-up – of at least 15 minutes in length – made up of dynamic stretching, some light bike work (if inside), running drills and full hip flexion. When you start running, you want to be ready to go!

Plan

A structured run, in which you have thought about the distance and route, will allow you to get the most from your session. For example, if you are planning a long run – warm-up properly and ease into it slowly, giving yourself time to adjust. It’s also advisable to not clock-watch too much, but rather, just get the miles in and enjoy the experience whether you are training for an upcoming race or not.

Conversely, if you are focused on sharp and fast interval work, don’t expect to hit full gear straight away in cold conditions. Indeed, ensure you progress gradually into a more difficult session.

Run with others

When your motivation wanes and the cold weather really kicks in, it can be tricky to get yourself going and in the right mind frame to run. However, running with friends or a club can boost your motivation levels and keep you on the right track.

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