Get your running winter ready

Published 1st December 2020 by mymo

We can’t deny it any more... Winter is coming and it’s time to get winter ready. Whether you’re someone who embraces cold winter running or you struggle to get out of the door, you will need to make some changes to adapt your running to the winter months.

Here, running coach and mymo social media guru Anji Andrews and mountain man Johnny ‘JC’ Cullen take us through the best ways to get winter run-ready.

Accept it and set it

The clocks have changed, nights have drawn in, it’s a key thing to start by accepting you’re going to have to make some changes. Mindset is vital in getting through the darker, colder months ahead so take some time to accept it and create some goals. Goals like finishing your training year well, keeping your focus over the holidays, and laying the foundations for a successful 2021.

Get kitted out

Summer kit isn’t going to cut it. Get ready to grab some new kit and play around with comfort on shorter runs. While some love to run wrapped up in a jacket, others prefer to wear layered lighter layers. Consider buying at least one item of waterproof kit for wet or snowy runs and invest in a good pair of gloves, a hat or a headband. JC, now based in the Pyrenees has had to adapt quickly to running in the snow.

The fitter you get the more you’ll feel the cold, so wrap up as warmly as you can. Typically JC runs in leggings, a long sleeved t-shirt, a t-shirt or two over that, and a reflective jacket. A buff (see below), woollen bobble hat, thermal gloves, thick socks, and trail shoes complete his standard outfit.

Reflective kit can save your life so get as much as you can. You might be awake and alert, but there’s no guarantee that the drivers on the road with you are.

JC comments, “Where I live, it’s hunting season at the moment. So you want to make it very clear you’re a runner and not a deer!”

He adds, “Invest in the best possible socks and gloves you can afford. When I set out on my early morning runs here now it can be minus five or lower. Painful hands and feet aren’t much fun, and will distract you from enjoying being out. Talking of unwanted distractions, Vaseline is a great go-to product as wind and rain can chafe you all over.”

Buff it up

We’ve become accustomed to covering our faces in 2020 but having a face covering that is run-friendly is a good way to settle into your cold runs. Using a buff-type face covering can help to control your breathing when temperatures plummet, and double up as a lightweight headband. We love the run-themed offerings over at Art of Your Success.

Know when to back off

During winter, it’s more important than ever to listen to your body. The general rule of thumb is that it can be OK to run with a cold, but anything below the neck such as a chest infection requires longer rest. It’s so much better to take a few days off running completely than to make yourself feel worse. Listen to your body and take your time.

Likewise, running on the roads in icy weather is a recipe for disaster, so please be sensible. Don’t be a hero and risk injury. Save your bravery for next year’s races.

Get ready to adapt

2020 should have made you more adaptable, so this should be your winter super power! You will need to get ready to change workouts, routes, times and aspirations as winter gets ready to grab. If you plan your weeks ahead, don’t be afraid to move things around and make it work for you.

Embrace the conditions

JC is a cross country runner who loves hard hills and wild weather. Not everybody’s like him - give Anji flat summer track running any day. But whatever your likes and dislikes are as an athlete, we strongly advise you to make the most of winter conditions. Think about adding some off-road running in at the weekend. If it’s too icy to do a Saturday morning session on the tarmac, do hills or fartlek in the park instead.

Yes, it’ll be cold and tough. Yes, you’ll come back soaking wet and covered in mud. But after a few months you’ll be faster, fitter, and more determined than your rivals who stayed inside.

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