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Published on October 24th, 2016 | by Michael

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5 Tips For Winter Running

Winter training is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it.

However, establishing a solid block of training is key to make sure you’re in good shape for the season ahead, whether that’s on the track, roads or trails.

There are some points that must be made when training in the colder/darker days, just to be on the safe side.

We’ve picked six of, what we feel, are the key elements to enjoy winter training while looking out for yourself.

6. Seasonal illness

It’s that time of the year where the cold and flu viruses start to peak and strike down anyone within the vicinity of those carrying the germs.

It’s safe to say that 99% of us will come down with the virus at one stage of winter and it’s not great, especially if you feel rotten. The 1% will somehow, walk away symptom free and avoid the snotty noses and coughing.

When it comes to training or even racing with either a cold/flu – forget about it. Going out for a run or trying to complete reps will be twice as hard as it would normally as your body tries to recover, it would be like trying to run back-to-back marathons with no recovery, if there was an analogy to use.  You have to think, if your body is using energy to fight the bacteria and your training on top of that, you’ll be exhausted before you know it.

Best advice here is, what every GP will suggest, rest and top up in fluids. You can always come back to running, it won’t go away, don’t worry.

Colds can take, roughly, two weeks to recover from, while flu is a couple of days, week at the most. So allow adequate time before you hit the roads again.

5. Leaves…everywhere!

14539587124_0694fd6712_zWith Autumn in full swing, trees are now shedding their leaves, creating piles everywhere on paths, roads and hills, which is great if you love to make mounds, jump in them, let the kids throw them around.

When it comes to running, though, it can be dangerous. The sap from the leaves, especially when it’s damp, can cause areas to be slippery, more so, greasy on the feet.

Although it is difficult to find an area that doesn’t have falling leaves on the paths, try to avoid them or, if using hills, quickly take a steady test run to test the environment.

Doing this will just add that little bit of security to your training session and to yourself as well as those in your group (if applicable). The only downside to this is, the further we get into the seasons, the more likely that piles and more damp weather will increase the risk, which can’t be helped, of course.

However, don’t let this put you off running – just be aware!

4. Stay Lit

Aimed more towards those who run at night time, which, now, is pretty much all of us!

Staying seen and safe is key for running in the darker nights. Using familiar routes and staying within lit areas of that route will help with visibility not just so you can see ahead but also for drivers and pedestrians to see you’re on the move.

Avoid poorly to unlit paths and roads, or if you absolutely have run through them, we advise to wear highly reflective gear and lights.

There are other ways to increase visibility but we’ll explain that in a bit more detail later.

3. Wrap Up

Obvious one, really, isn’t it?

It’s going to get cold, it is going to get wet and it is going to be windy at times, so making sure that you’re prepared, whatever the elements are is key to get your session in the tank rather than struggle with the outdoor climate.more-mile-alaska-thermal-top-mm2440

Using clothing that provides thermal covering, (we recommend these) is perfect for the brisker mornings/evenings, as well as thermal running tights too, this is mostly to reduce the risk picking up an injury, more so a pulled muscle, due to cold limbs.

In the wet/damp conditions, having a hat and gloves may offer some protection, but the base cover of a jacket will prove pivotal to avoid prolonged feeling of damp clothes against skin – we know, it doesn’t feel great! These are fantastic for cover for wind also, there are wind specific models out there, but long as you are layered correctly, you’ll be good to go.

There is a rough guide that is around online for how many layers to wear depending on the temperature, however, this is down to personal preference. To read more, please see the link from Foodandwine.com

2. Plan ahead

By this, we simply mean, know where you’re going. During this part of the year, now is not the time to go for a wonder or detour from your normal routes, purely because running in the dark hides a lot of things, such as uneven road surfaces, low lit areas, hazardous items like glass, for example and there’s less chance of getting lost – come on, we’ve all been there!

If you did feel like exploring areas you’ve never ran in before or fancy a change in scenery, is best to do so over the weekend during the day on your long run or even a Parkrun in a totally different area.

1. Reflective Gear

Easily, one of the most important items of kit you should have in your winter training kitbag/wardrobe.

Wearing clothing that contains high visibility colour or material is a must-have before you take on the terrains and roads, simply because without it, you’re almost unseen to drivers/passers-by. Going for colours such as orange, green, yellow are the best to select from due to how easy they are seen.

These days, even long tights contain materials that purely focus on you being seen. Examples such as the 2XU Hyoptik Compression Running Tights or Nike Dri-Fit Reflective Ladies Long Running Tights for items to look for, however, almost all, of the current tights offer some sort of reflective taping, this is worth researching.

It’s not just clothing though. Lights, small or head torches, reflective and snap bands offer improve and money saving alternative if tights are a little out of reach, available for under £10, even under £5.

All in all, as long as you are smart with clothing during winter, the training will be a breeze and like the colder months have never existed.

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Written By Michael