Winter is coming!

One of the questions asked following my recent running posts was “How on earth do you run in a vest at this time of year?” The answer is by slipping on a comfy base layer so I can still wear my favourite running tops whilst staying warm!

This morning I popped on my base layer and headed out for a short jog… I wasn’t particularly feeling energetic but was motivated by my Lockdown goal and I’m glad I did as I was treated to a beautiful sunrise!

Having returned home and felt the incredible benefits of some fresh, cool air in my lungs, I wanted to write my top tips for keeping running throughout winter.

It’s easy to let the weather put you off running during the winter months, but a recent study has shown that running in colder climates actually decreases your heart rate as well as the body’s dehydration levels. Training in lower temperatures also requires less energy and can enable you to achieve new personal best times by running in the cold.

Get motivated

If my photos from this morning’s beautiful sunrise hasn’t motivated you to go for a run tomorrow morning, then you need to find other motivations. This could be for your physical health (I originally began running for weight loss), or your mental health, to achieve a specific goal, or simply because you can! Even during lockdowns, running is one of the few things still available to us to enjoy and make the most of. You may want to find a community to keep yourself motivated, or follow a training plan to help keep you on track.

Wear appropriate clothing for your run

I know that I warm up pretty quickly on a run and provided I’m moving, then my legs are always fine… but I need something to take away the bite from cold winds, so a base layer works well for me. Some people need warmer clothes (full on wind jackets or even a hoody etc) – have a play around on different shorter runs and make sure you find what works for you. Whilst it may feel chilly as soon as you step outside, don’t forget that you will warm up pretty quickly!

I’m really looking forward to wearing my brand new ReesLeisure snood/neckwarmer soon (design left)– perfect round my neck for that first cold part at the start of a run or a bike ride, then I can really easily slip it onto my wrist or wear as a hair band to keep the sweat at bay. (They are also super handy for if you’ve forgotten your face mask when grabbing a post-run snack!)

I’m really looking forward to wearing my brand new ReesLeisure snood/neckwarmer soon (design left)– perfect round my neck for that first cold part at the start of a run or a bike ride, then I can really easily slip it onto my wrist or wear as a hair band to keep the sweat at bay. (They are also super handy for if you’ve forgotten your face mask when grabbing a post-run snack!)

My personal winter kit list:

– Base layer

– My favourite running tee over the top

– Gloves

Snood/neck warmer – great to cover the ears too

– Warm hoody for post run

Hi vis / reflective clothing if poorer lighting

– Head torch if necessary

Be flexible and sensible

Make sure to check the weather forecast before you step outside so that you don’t get caught out in a freak downpour or crazy gale force winds. Adjust your run if necessary based on the weather (not just at the time of your run, but the previous evening too) – be careful of ice or slippery paving stones under foot. You can absolutely carry on running and enjoy yourself during less favourable weather, but adjust your goals – you may need to slow down a little to stay safer, but you can use this time to enjoy the sights around you or take some wonderful sunrise photos!

Be flexible… literally!

Don’t forget to stretch and warm up. (Flexible… literally… get it?!) With colder weather and a generally colder atmosphere it will take longer for your muscles to warm up so you are more prone to getting injured – you can counteract this though by taking the time to warm up and gently stretch before your run. I’ll often do this whilst listening to some of my favourite running tunes – the stretch helps wake up my muscles and the music helps wake up my running energy!

Keep warm post run

Similarly, to help ease those muscles post run, you don’t want to suddenly drop your temperature and seize up – particularly with lots of us sat at home desks in the new way of working, you need to be careful to look after your body post run too. My favourite ways of doing this are a light bit of yoga (you can find lots of free short videos to do on YouTube if you don’t know where to start), and putting on my warmest hoody to keep toasty throughout the day. My current favourite is the 2019/2020 ABP Southampton Marathon hoody but I’m really looking forward to our new design hoody being delivered soon – perfect for Xmas present!

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