No I haven’t turned into a Stark (they usually last about as long as a cheesecake in my fridge!). Im talking long dark nights ,wind ,rain,secret dog mess hiding under the autumn leaves,the usual treats we get for the next 7 months!
Dont be put off and resign to the fact that you have to use the dreadmill over winter a few simple tips can help you battle the winter and come spring be a bigger stronger faster Athlete!
- Stay illuminated – Bold bright reflective clothing should be your staple wear for training during winter,even during the day ,if the clouds come in it can get dark pretty quickly.You can buy hi viz vests for a couple of quid from places like Ebay and amazon if you are strapped for cash and the local £ shop will always have clip on cycle lights for sale. Be bright Be seen (think 1990s raver).
- Wear Layers– Just because its cold out you dont have to turn into Rocky Balboa running in full tracksuit,hat scarf and gloves. Once you start moving you will be surprised how fast you will warm up,most runs if its dry can be ran in a long sleeve top and shorts. I personally find a thin hat and gloves always keeps me toasty (i dont like cold hands!!).If the weather is really terrible invest in a decent waterproof jacket but try and brave shorts,wet leggings for miles on end is no ones idea of fun !
A winter training session on my local moors.
- Slow Down- Now i know this may sound a little contradictory but not every session has to be a race and if you are tearing down the street in the dark you may not see the potholes ,signposts or cars may not see you !
- Run in a Group- Group running is fantastic for so many reasons not just in winter but i’ve added it here for two reasons 1. Safety in numbers,cars are more likely to see ten people in high viz than just one lonely runner and 2. you are much more likely to train if you have people waiting for you to get your arse outside!
- Get offroad- I dont hide my love for XC, i think getting off road and muddy is a great all over body workout,plus getting off road is probably safer as you dont have to contend with traffic (make sure of course you are comfortable with your surroundings,run in a group if possible and let someone know where you are going!)
- Embrace the Weather- Last but not least,embrace everything that winter can throw at you wind,rain,snow and sheer bloody Arctic temperatures .Store them in your memory and when spring comes back around you will be bulletproof! mental toughness is a big player in this sport and if you can train in sideways rain in -2 there is no way you will quit that race when the sun is shining and the birds are tweeting!