Whether you are new to running, a seasoned club runner, elite athlete or somewhere in between, the likelihood is that getting out of the door to run in the winter months seems more challenging than it did just a few months ago. In this post I attempt to give you my thoughts on five ways to make it all seem slightly more achievable.
1 – Get the right kit
You’ve all heard the saying “no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes” right? When it comes to winter running I believe this is very true – I’m not saying you need to go out and spend hundreds of pounds on new gear (although winter is a great excuse if you have the budget!) but making sure you have a decent pair of gloves and a hat or buff is a good start. With the shorter hours of day-light it’s also really important to stay safe, so a reflective vest, jacket or gillet is a must. There are some great head-torches and clip on lights out there for anyone wanting to run on routes that are less well lit, which kind of leads to my next point
2 – Embrace the mud!
Strange as it sounds, winter is a great time to get off the roads, with pavements likely to become slippy as temperature falls, why not take the opportunity to take to the tracks or trails where you live, it’s a great way to get close to nature and see the season change. If you are a city-type try your local park for some grass-reps to keep you interested over the winter.
3 – Go old-school on the XC circuit
Try losing the gadgets – Cross-country racing is one of the purest forms of racing, each course is different and even running the same course on a different day can pose a very different challenge. It’s not about getting a PB or maintaining ‘race-pace’ but for most people cross-country is more about trying to catch the runner in front , and not let the runner behind catch you. Your local running club will have details on how to get involved. It’s much more fun than you remember from school!
4 – Find a friend
Not only for winter, heading out with a running buddy or a few running buddies is a great way to stay motivated at any time of year. Make a date and stick to it, some days it will be you that needs the encouragement, other times you will be the one encouraging someone else. In the run up to Christmas, a social run can be a great way to catch up in between all those other things on your to-do list, as well as helping manage the stresses that the festive season tends to bring. Of course, a few extra miles will help deal with any festive calories you might be consuming as well!
5 – Reflect and set new goals
The new-years resolution is much maligned, but setting some SMART goals for the next phase of training is a good thing to do in the winter months and will help focus your efforts in January and February. Take some time to review where you are, ask yourself what you want to achieve and how you can get there. Setting some specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound objectives and committing these to writing or sharing with others is a worthwhile way to spend a drizzly afternoon – after you’ve been out for a run, of course!
Written by – Johanna Jefferies.