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Winter Training Tips
There is no getting around the fact that a spring race requires our runners to bank the bulk of their training miles during the cold, winter months. With that in mind we have included some winter training tips here in the support section of our website.
We hope the following tips will ease the challenge of getting out of the door on these darker evenings or chillier mornings.
Our top tips for winter training:
If you’re running in the dark then make sure you are wearing reflective clothing. It’s really important that drivers can see you – it could save your life. Wear reflective items on your arms and legs – moving parts are easier to see. Consider wearing a flashing light and a head torch. At all times (not just when it is dark, or getting dark) stay alert – wearing headphones should be avoided so you can hear vehicles and cycles coming up behind you.
Wearing layers is the easiest way to stay warm – but don’t overdo it – if you feel toasty warm before you step out of the door then you’re probably wearing too much. A long sleeved ‘wicking’ top and lightweight wind-proof jacket worn with running tights should keep you warm but won’t let you overheat.
Cover exposed skin – wear a hat and gloves – you can always take them off and tuck them into your tights if you’re feeling too warm. Some runners who really struggle with the cold air on their chest during the winter months wear a neck warmer over their mouth.
Remember that stretching and warming up are very important parts of training and should not be overlooked. Muscles shrink during exercise, so do gentle stretches right after a run when you muscles are warm, just enough to stretch them back to their pre-exercise state. This will help you feel better after a run, improve your stride, and help prevent injury.
Stay hydrated, but avoid over drinking. Try drinking a measured amount of water (or weak squash or fruit juice, or energy drink) 30 minutes before you go out for your run and again after you finish. Drink slowly over time, don’t gulp in one go. Adjust the amount you drink to ensure correct drinking balance – your urine should be light straw in colour, but mild dehydration and feeling thirsty after a run is normal. You shouldn’t need to carry drinks on shorter runs. Use this as practice for race day.
Consider the weather and maybe think about changing the run you had planned if you have too – if the wind is gusting you along at the start of your run it’s likely that you’ll have to run home with what feels like a force 10 gale in your face – never pleasant – so try and run into the wind at the beginning of your run. If it turns icy consider some cross country runs or runs on the grass. And if the weather is really not being kind then consider running loops closer to home, so if you feel like you need to head home then you’re closer than you would be if you’d headed out for a long ‘there and back’ kind of run.
Wear the right footwear. Take extra care if conditions turn slippery or icy – you may need to invest in a pair of off-road shoes with better grip. During wet weather rotate your running shoes to make sure each pair has time to dry out thoroughly between runs. Dry out soaked trainers by stuffing them with newspaper
If you need some winter motivation then think about joining a running group or teaming up with a running buddy.
Let someone know where you’re planning on running, consider wearing an ID tag or put your identification and next of kin details, plus any medical conditions or medication in your pocket (if you’re wearing something with pockets). If you carry a mobile phone with you while you’re running then make sure it can be unlocked and keep these details under ’ICE’ (In Case of Emergency) number in your contacts list.