Get ready to run in the colder months
Running can be tough during winter. When the heating is on inside and you can hear the wind and rain whipping at the window, it can really dent your motivation. You'll just hit the treadmill tomorrow, right? But poor weather shouldn't put your outdoor running to an end for the season - as long as you prepare well and gear up, you can start Spring in great shape.
Here are some tips make your winter schedule as easy as possible:
Set a target
Everybody knows that goals and deadlines are huge motivators, so don't slog through the wind and the rain with no end target. It's incredibly easy to get demoralised during the colder months, so take hold of any small advantage you can - starting with putting a date in your diary for a spring event.
If you can, get some dynamic stretches in while you're still indoors. Start to get your muscles activated; a couple of little cheat tips for this one are hanging as much of your clothes as you can over the radiator (or in the dryer for 5 minutes) and rubbing some tiger balm or deep heat over your leg muscles to kick start them.
Be safe, be seen
If you can, run during the warmest and driest hours of the day. However, often this isn't possible when the sun starts to dip earlier and earlier. If you're running in the dark, make sure you're wearing something reflective. Strips on the arms or legs are best as moving parts are more visible. Reflective bands for your wrists/ankles are a cheap and effective alternative to buying new gear. If you're running in low light, as opposed to complete darkness, fluorescent pink and orange are actually better than yellow or green.
What to wear
Top half - A sweat-wicking baselayer should be a staple in your winter wardrobe. Cover this with an insulating layer, such as a long sleeve top, but nothing too thick or fleecy; you want to avoid the temptation of ditching a layer when you're over-sweating 3 miles in. Get yourself a waterproof jacket that isn't too bulky and doesn't flap too much in the wind. The hoods are usually quite low profile so don't be put off buying a jacket that has one if you think you won't use it.
Running tights will keep your legs warm and out of the wind while cutting out the need for the extra bulk of trousers.
Socks that include a wool blend will help keep your feet warm while providing all the same benefits of your usual sock of choice. In terms of shoes, make sure you have plenty of grip; if your routes take you off-road a lot, trail shoes are probably your best bet, and they will deal with water better, too.
A hat and neck gaiter are a must for the coldest runs, and get some windproof gloves on to protect your extremities.
The obvious benefits of having a training partner are increased the less enticing the weather becomes. The pressure of not letting a mate down is an added boost to drag you off the sofa on chilly nights. Organise an indoor meeting point so you're not waiting too long in the cold.
If you're running on snow
If you're committed enough to tackle running in the snow then there are a few things to bear in mind. Run on fresh snow, rather than compacted areas. Try to stick to routes you know as this will help you avoid any obstacles hiding beneath the surface. External snow grips for your shoes like Yak Trax help sure up your footing for snow runs.
Adapt your schedule
Don't be afraid to modify your running plan during winter. If the weather is unrelenting and you're after a decent time, hit the treadmill or wait until the next day. If the sun is out, ignore your schedule and lace up.