5 tips to make running in the winter that bit easier
Shorter days, inclement weather and the temptation to cosy up on the couch are all very real barriers to keeping up your running habit during the winter months. But it’s worth it – running not only improves your heart health and body’s fitness, but also delivers mental health benefits to boot.
So we can all agree that maintaining that regular run is important. But how can you tackle winter head-on and make sure you stick at it?
1. Don’t over-dress
A classic runner’s mistake is to over-dress with overly heavy items of clothing, which leads to inevitably having to strip off due to exertion during your run. You need to be warm enough out in the cold, but you also don’t want to wear so much bulky clothing that you strip off and get a chill. A tip to combat this is to warm your gear on the radiator before you set off. Consider doing some warm-up exercises at home before setting off too.
2. Layer, layer, layer
The goal is to stay warm but avoid the dreaded over-heat. To do this, layer sweat-wicking material that is built to breathe as you heat up. Remember: you want to trap your body’s heat, but not the sweat. The most important final layers, of course, are your reflective high-vis if it’s dark or dull and a rain jacket to protect you from the elements.
3. Head to toe
During a run, your blood will be directed towards the muscles exerting themselves and away from your extremities, as they won’t be moving half as much. That means a hat and gloves are key, as well as keeping your feet dry. But more of that next…
4. Happy feet
No one likes wet socks. And wet socks lead to cold feet, which is even worse. Make sure you’ve got hydrophobic materials (that means ‘water-repellent’) in the upper layer of your running shoes. You can also add to this protection with waterproof and sweat-wicking running socks. If rain does get into your shoes, stuff them with newspaper and place them in an airy room to dry out.
5. Lighten up
So, we’ve combated being wet and cold – but what about those darker winter evenings? There’s no excuse not to have the proper light-up gear, as there’s a huge amount of kit available these days, not just a high-vis. Flashing LEDs and reflective bands are a good shout for additional visibility, and try using a running headlamp so you can see what’s up ahead too.
One final tip? As ever, always run against traffic so that you can see cars coming up against you rather than letting them overtake. The key to running is to plan ahead, so make sure you know the route and let someone know where you’re going. And enjoy it, of course!
Interested in keeping fit? Check out some more of our blogs on active lifestyles.