Running in the cold may sound more appealing than a hot sticky run in the summer months, but factor in sub-zero temperatures, ice, snow and less daylight hours and, well, winter can be a tricky time to keep getting out for regular runs!
But don’t despair, we’re on hand to help and are firm believers that there’s no such thing as bad weather… only poor preparation. So keep reading for thoughts from our seasoned ultra-running pros, Debbie Martin-Consani and Simon Roberts, who between them have tons of experience training through the cold, winter months.
Motivation to get you out of the door
Sunsets and sunrises
One of the best things about winter are the spectacular sunrises and sunsets we get treated to! Sunrises are particularly special as they’re often a lot quieter so you can soak up the natural beauty in peace. What better way to kick-start your day?
Running to escape
Fighting the urge to hibernate indoors and stay cosy on the sofa can be hard, never mind attempting PB’s. Instead of thinking about pushing your limits, why not see winter running as a great opportunity for some quality ‘you time’. 99% of the battle is just getting yourself out of the door.
Layering is best
Get your layers right, but don't go over the top. You want to be warm, but you will get too warm if you're wearing too much. A handy run trip is “dress for mile two”. Aim to start with 2 layers and layer up if you’re still feeling the chill after a bit. Base layers with zippers are also very handy, you can just open the zip if things get a bit hot on the trail!
The days are shorter in the winter so a head torch is essential if you’re planning a longer run . Always take a spare torch or spare battery's as well, battery's run down quicker in the cold so having a spare is important.
These lightweight items help keep drafts off your neck and also keep your head and ears warm too – without overheating.
How to run safely
Let people know
If you are doing lots of long runs on your own, I always let a family member know by sending them a screenshot of the area I will be running in and roughly what times I will be running.
Watch out for ice
It’s definitely worth taking a more careful approach to running in the winter, and better to take it slowly so you don’t fall and hurt yourself. Also worth thinking about adding some shoe traction aids to your kit which come in many varieties.
Take the basics out with you on your runs in the hills in winter, you want spare base layers and an emergency bivvy. This is if something happens and you need to wait to be rescued. A rescue could take a couple of hours, so keeping warm is important. Always have a phone with you as well.