Don’t let the cold weather discourage you from running. Tom Craggs shares tips to keep your exercise routine up and running this winter. More details below:
The winter is a vicious circle for runners. It is time of year when you lay down your crucial base training for those spring races, where you have time to build your strength and endurance, where you know you need to train hard to stave off the worst of the inevitable Christmas excesses – yet it is also the time of year where excuses not to train seem to present themselves every time your open your kit drawer.
Cold weather, icy roads, dark before you finish work – with a bit of planning and thought you can ensure you keep consistent and destroy the excuses.
1. Layer up. Layers are the way to go in winter. Several thin layers of running specific, wicking fabrics will allow you strip down as you warm up. Focus on high-viz clothes too to keep you safe and seen.
2. Warm up slowly. In cold weather it is going to take you longer to warm up properly. Capillaries stay constricted for longer and muscles feel more stiff, so you might find breathing more difficult in the first ten to 15 minutes of a session. Allow longer than you normally would for easy running and drills before you start to attack faster paces and intervals. You might even consider warming up indoors with some active stretching, drills or skipping.
3. Keep good company. The cold winter months will challenge your resolve – surround yourself with positive people and train with others where you can (clubs, Run England groups) and schedule in some parkrun and 10kms to keep you motivated and on track
4. Sessions to suit conditions. If it is freezing outside it’s unrealistic to expect your body, or mind for that matter, to hit short, hard interval work early in a session. Consider sessions that build intensity and speed as they progress. A progression run of 15 minutes easy, 15 minutes steady and 15 minutes at a level of controlled discomfort is recommended.
5. Wrap up quickly. Your immune system is low after hard interval sessions or long runs. Make sure you bring spare clothes with you to the gym, club or your own sessions, so you can quickly remove damp clothes immediately after your session and cool down in dry, warm garments. This will help to stop you picking up bugs and infections. Get indoors too for your post run stretching session.
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