Don’t let the darker days and colder weather hold you back from reaching your PB this winter.
You’ve been pounding the pavements all year long to keep fit, train for a big race or lose weight, when suddenly winter sneaks up on you and messes everything up. But it doesn’t have to. Summer might seem like a lifetime away, but these tips we’ve put together with the help of Winter Run Series ambassador, Tom Craggs, are just what you need to leave the excuses behind you as you jog, run or sprint closer to your goals.
While running alone can be blissful, if you’re struggling to find motivation sometimes accountability is just the kick you need. Running with a friend or in a group is not only a great way of challenging yourself through being competitive and learning from each other, but also a way of forcing yourself to stay consistent – plus, we’re far less likely to bail if it means letting a friend down. As winter weather conditions make outdoor running a cautious activity, working out with a partner is also safer than running alone.
If running is your go-to when it comes to keeping fit but you’re doing so without a specific goal in mind, it can be difficult not to make compromises. It’s important to track changes in your body even if you aren’t training for a particular purpose as a long-term way of staying motivated. Setting a mixture of short-term and long-term goals can also help to give you direction and to accept running as a consistent part of a healthy lifestyle rather than just another way to work out. For a long-term goal, Tom Craggs suggests signing up to the 10km London Winter Run which takes place 5 February 2017. The Central London route is breath-taking, while the flat route is perfect for those on the lookout for a PB.
For most of us it’s the thought of leaving the warmth of our cosy beds that discourages us from our usual outdoor runs come winter. While layering up may initially help, becoming uncomfortably sweaty halfway through our run is also pretty irritating. Layering is always a good option, choosing gear that can be easily removed and tied around the waist, but the best way to overcome this struggle is by warming up indoors before you start your run. This can be as simple as running on the spot and going through dynamic stretching, if you don’t have the space or time for something more intense. ‘In the cold weather, capillaries will stay constricted for longer and synovial fluid, which helps reduce friction in your joints, is more viscous. Warm up well and you’ll perform better,’ advises Tom in discussing the risks of sprinting in winter without preparation.
Switch it up
According to Tom, conditioning sessions outside of your runs can highly benefit your performance to give you improved posture and stability and a lesser chance of picking up a pesky injury. Resistance exercises, yoga and Pilates can help to strengthen the muscles used during a run and increase their range of motion while also refreshing your regime.
Running in colder weather masks the amount you’re sweating, so it’s easy to forget the importance of staying hydrated. If you are heading out for a winter run though, make sure your fluid intake still increases accordingly. Stay away from sugary energy drinks and opt for natural electrolyte mixes instead.