Considering I was pretty much out of action for the first couple of weeks of the year thank to the flu, it's only now that I'm able to throw myself into the standard bout of January fitness. It would start snowing as soon as I'm well enough to start running again wouldn't it? Sigh.
I wasn't going to let a little snow get in my way, so despite the weather, I pulled on my trail running shoes and ventured out into the mean streets of Salford. I'll be honest, I only managed a slow jog at best while I found my feet but it inspired me to do a little research around a few tips for running in winter. I thought I'd share a few key ones with you in case you're planning a winter run!
Set a Date
Keeping yourself motivated to run is one of the hardest things about running in winter, it's so much easier to stay on the settee in front of Netflix than to drag yourself out into the cold. But if you have a set day and time for running, you'll find it much easier to stick to. Get your friends or colleagues involved to keep up the motivation, we set up a running club at work to help keep us running and to encourage each other. You just have to make sure everyone remembers their running things every week!
Warm Up - Before
Make sure to warm up before you head out, it will mean that your body will be more prepared for the physical exertion and your muscles will already be heated up, the best way to avoid damaged muscles.
You'll probably start out freezing, overheat halfway through, be sweating by the time you get home and then be chilly for about an hour. To combat this, it's vital to layer up, a few thin layers will regulate your temperature and to lock in heat. Thankfully my MyProtein order arrived just in time, this hoodie is ideal for running in winter as you can layer up underneath and the hood will protect your ears! They have just launched a US version of the site so you can stock up wherever you are in the world! Gloves are a must too, my hands always suffer most so I keep them covered with these Trespass gloves I picked up in the sale.
Depending on the weather and terrain, it's important to have the correct footwear to keep you confident enough to give your all. I have a couple of different pairs to suit most terrains, my classic Nike Roshe One for normal road running in most weathers and my Nike Trail Shoes (similar here) pictured above for when the snow descends or if I'm going off road. Pick the right pair for you that you feel confident in, just make sure they have a sturdy sole and plenty of grip. Make sure you have the right socks on too, preferably cushioned for comfort and warmth.
Dry your trainers thoroughly after each run so you don't end up with soggy shoes, I usually find a night on the radiator sorts them out a treat but if they're particularly wet, fill them with newspaper to soak up the excess water too.
Let's face it, it's pretty much dark the whole time during winter so make sure you stay safe by wearing something reflective or by wearing a head torch. I tend to choose leggings with reflective strips to stay seen and use a head torch when I'm running at night.
Hydrate ahead of your run and make sure to rehydrate once you're home, a warm drink will help you to hydrate and to warm you up after a chilly session.
Warm Up - After
Warming up when you get home can be difficult, it takes me ages to shake the chill! I find a warm shower, dry clothes and a warm drink helps to get my body back to normal. And once you've been out for a run, you've totally earned that Netflix and blanket. I always find a protein packed snack helps too, why not try overnight oats or a MyProtein wafer for a sweet treat?
Keep a Record
Keep a record of your progress and it will help to keep you motivated as you see yourself improving. I use the Nike running app but also monitor my food intake and steps (some days a woefully low thanks to being chained to my desk during the week) through My Fitness Pal.