Here we are talking about running in the cold. If you live in Hawaii or somewhere else nice and warm you can skip this page, unless you are planning a trip to the UK anytime.
The short daylight hours and inclement weather can make running during the winter difficult, however with the right approach you can get some great running in during this time of year. There is something magical about crunching over fresh snow where yours are the only footprints. It is a great feeling knowing you are out there doing it when lesser mortals are wimping out and staying indoors.
To keep running during these difficult months be flexible, have a motivating goal and dress smartly. No that doesn’t mean you have to be dapper it means choosing the right material and dressing in layers. Although there are some great colours and styles available now so you should look good.
During the winter the daylight hours are short so it can be difficult getting a run in if you do not want to run in the dark. Think about running at lunchtime if you can, or running on a treadmill during the week and getting outdoors at the weekend. If you have a bike you could consider investing in a turbo-trainer so you can cycle to your heart's content in the garage or kitchen. Follow the link to Amazon and see what is available.
If you can only run in the evenings find well lit places to run in or invest in a good head torch. Using a small hand-held torch as well can help you spot potholes and ridges that could trip you up.
Getting outside for a run on a cold and miserable day can be difficult, if it is part of a plan to achieve something significant it makes it a little easier. So train for a specific race or to achieve a certain mileage each month. Set interim goals and reward yourself when you achieve these to keep your motivation going. Training with others is a great motivator; you will not want to let them down, so find some buddies to run with.
There is a saying; ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing’ For the most part this is true only occasionally will the weather be so bad that you cannot get out for a run. If it is very windy and roof tiles are flying about or it is snowing so heavily you cannot see where you are going it is probably best to stay indoors, but most of the time appropriate clothing will get you out there.
The key is layering and choosing the right fabrics. Cotton t-shirts are not the thing to wear, when you sweat the cotton gets wet, when it gets cold you get cold and wet and very uncomfortable. For the first layer chose a wicking fabric to wear next to your skin, either a synthetic technical fabric or merino wool. On top of that you want an insulating layer to keep you warm. This will generally be some sort of fleece and should be able to absorb a small amount of moisture so that it can assist your first layer in keeping your skin dry and warm.
The final layer will be an outer shell made of wind- and water-resistant material. If you are going to be running in the dark or near traffic choose a bright top with reflective strips to keep you safe.
In mild conditions you might only need two layers and even in cold conditions you might remove on layer when you get warmed up. Your body will generate a lot of heat once you get going.
The layering principle applies to your feet as well. Choose good technical socks that will wick moisture away from your feet and consider wearing two pairs in extreme conditions. This system will help keep your feet warm even if they get wet.
Shoes with good grip are essential in icy and snowy conditions; consider fitting traction aids to your shoes when there is ice about.
Take time to care for your shoes. When you get back home wipe any mud or snow off with a cloth, remove the insoles and stuff with newspaper to dry them out. It is not very nice putting on cold wet shoes to start a run.
For the winter you might want to buy shoes half size bigger to accommodate two layers of socks. If you can afford two pairs one can be drying out while the others are in use.
Hat & Gloves
Wearing a hat in cold weather helps your body retain heat and gloves will stop your hands from suffering. In very cold weather consider wearing two pairs of gloves following the layering rules and using wicking material close to your skin.
A few words of warning
Don’t forget to stay hydrated, it might not be hot but you will still lose water through sweat and via your breath.
Wear bright colours and reflective materials or even a flashing light. Visibility is often not good and motorists have misted up windows and might not see you until it is too late.
I you are running off-road or on-road in very remote areas run with someone or make sure someone knows where you are going and when you are due back. If you have an accident and cannot move or can only move slowly hypothermia can soon set in so make sure you will be missed just in case.
Get out there and enjoy it!
Gear that Ed & Phil (Extraordinary ordinary runners) use.
Toetoe socks with Wigwam socks on top
EDZ Performance Layering clothing
UK Gear PT03 Winter Shoes
Get-a-grip traction aids
If you cannot find the Get-a-grip traction aids in the shops the click the link to buy online. Get A Grip Everyday Traction Aid