Driving rain, fewer hours of daylight, bone chilling winds; there are endless reasons it can be difficult to get out of the front door for a run in winter. I’m no fair weather runner, my threshold for not going out is high. But even I sometimes find it difficult to leave the cosy comforts of crackling fires, hot chocolates and pillowy sofas. Luckily, these 7 winter running tips always help me out of my slippers:
1) Schedule time
If you’ve made a planned commitment with someone (or even just with yourself) to go out for a run at a particular time and place it’s much harder to back out of. Life is busy and running windows are often small, always precious and need to be used. This is true of any season but it’s especially helpful in winter as there are fewer hours of daylight and not everyone likes to run after dark. Plan your run ahead of time, write it on your calendar, in your diary and set a reminder on your phone. And make sure you write it in pen – not pencil!
Gather your kit and lay it out ahead of your run. It might seem easier to just find something to wear on the day but by the time you’ve rummaged through drawers looking for stray gloves and missing socks you will have talked yourself out of running. Anything that will strengthen a potential moment of weakness is a bonus.
3) Act Fast
When the time comes for your run, get your shoes on and go! There are always things to do, distractions abound, to-do lists are endless. If you delay your run it can easily slip down the priority list and never come back up.
4) Don’t give in to negative thoughts
It’s a well known fact that you almost always feel better after a run, so don’t dwell on negative thoughts before or during your run. Giving your mind free rein to focus on the negative will lead to inactivity.
5) Dress well
Comedian Billy Connolly said “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing, so get yourself a sexy raincoat and live a little.” Getting freezing cold, soaking wet and sweating excessively is no fun. Hats, scarves, gloves, breathable waterproof fabrics and shoes make all the difference. I’m no style guru but my child’s hat and Buff, layering of clothes and my amazing waterproof Innov8 trail shoes meant I was toasty warm despite the elements on my recent weather bomb run.
6) Try to keep your form
When the wind is pulling you in all directions and the hale is driving at you it’s easy to start hunching up and altering your gait. This can lead to injuries and it uses precious energy.
7) Stretch in shelter
It’s tempting to rush indoors out of the storm and forget the stretching bit but if you want to stay injury free and keep running through the winter it’s definitely worth finding a sheltered spot for a quick stretch. Stretching again at bedtime is another good way to beat the winter cramps.
8) Reward yourself
While the glow you have from the elements and the knowledge that you’ve got your fix despite the season may be enough for some, I’m all for a little indulgence after bravery. Hot shower, hot chocolate, a soak in the bath, a glass of wine; what ever takes your fancy. Having a little something extra to look forward to can really help motivate you to push yourself on your run.
Don’t let the winter put you off. There’s gems of nature to be discovered. Your usual routes can take on a new beauty. Arriving in Spring feeling fit makes it all worthwhile. Now, where’s my sexy raincoat?………