Winter is great — mulled wine, cosy knits, steaming hot bowls of soup — but when it’s cold and drizzly out, it can be really hard to find the motivation to keep on running. You have to dig a little deeper to find that “I got this!” drive, especially if you're a run-to-work person like me, because these dark and cold mornings are TOUGH... That said, autumn/winter can be a good time to get out there and smash it as summer can be a real distraction (I doubt even Mo Farah wants to go running when it’s 30-degrees out and there’s a picnic in the park he’s missing!). For that reason, we should look at the colder months as a good time and a good opportunity to set new goals and new regimes. We've GOT THIS! In this post, I wanted to share my top tips for keeping up running through the winter, along with how to make those cold and dark runs as successful as can be...
Find the time that works for you
Everyone is different when it comes to preferred times to exercise — I'm someone who needs to get up and get it done, otherwise I'm likely to bail later in the day! I'm all about get up, get it done, get on with your day BUT at this time of year the dark mornings aren't so inviting. If you're struggling to face them, why not carve out a couple of lunch breaks a week for running, or dedicate the pre-brunch Saturday morning slot.
Set your intentions, remind yourself of your goals
Get your head in the right place. When the voice in your head is saying ‘please no, it’s cold’, override it and remind yourself why you’re doing and what you’re going to achieve — whether that's for your mental health or because you're training for a race.
When it’s cold out, it’s crucial that you warm up your muscles or else risk injury. Do a few simple calf stretches, ankle raises and some rolling the ankles so your muscles feel warm and comfortable before you hit the road.
Alter your breathing
Through the winter months, when it's particularly cold out, you can get that uncomfortable sensation in your chest when you breathe deeply. Try altering your breathe so you’re inhaling through your nose and out through your mouth, and you should find the pain in your chest goes away.
Get good socks and gloves
It’s always your extremities that get the coldest so if you’re someone who really feels the cold, make sure you get good socks and gloves — they make all the difference!
What you wear to regulate your temperature is vital for a good running experience. Naturally, you will warm up a lot when you're out so you can leave the scarf and puffer jacket at home, but thermal running leggings are great and long layers up top that if needs be you can tie round your waist. A headband or over-ear headphones are also good for covering ice-cold ears!
Struggling out there in the cold? Distract yourself from the task in hand! I swear by listening to a podcast these days when I'm running, for me, it’s the ultimate way to zone out. I love, How I Built This and The High Low Show.
Take it steady
My natural instinct when it’s cold is to run as fast as possible to get it over quicker, but as I'm not a speedy runner, I only have to stop and walk and that's when I get really cold. The best thing to do when it's cold is take it at a steady, consistent pace you can keep up, that way you’ll always keep yourself warm.
Reward yourself with a little TLC
Finally, when you’re back home and you’ve conquered the task you set out to do, big up the TLC — a hot bubble bath and I swear you'l forget you ever stepped out in the cold! My secret to surviving winter marathon training!
— I WORKED WITH WEIGHT WATCHERS UK ON THIS CONTENT. READ IT AND MORE ON THEIR BLOG HERE —