The New Niggle:… but Baby it’s cold outside….

…How to cope with Winter Training

If seeing the sunny weather on an August day and jumping into your trainers to enjoy it is the perk of being a runner, winter training is the cold harsh reality.

Getting out of bed to train before work when it’s light outside, or pushing yourself that extra mile when beer gardens after work are packed with your friends is one thing, doing it in the cold and dark is another entirely.  If you thought resisting rosé in the sunshine with your friends was hard, try saying no to a warm bed/sofa/comfortable horizontal position to go out running…

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However, it is a necessary evil if you’re training for an event that takes place in the Spring like the London Marathon, and in a weird sort of way you do get a lot from it mentally because you get the satisfaction of pushing yourself when saying no would have been easy and others might have done.  There is a strange solidarity between the Hi-Viz clad runners out pounding the pavements in the winter time.

Here are the things I do to make the transition a little easier:

Check the Weather

If you know it’s going to be chucking it down with rain then you need a will of iron and a waterproof jacket, or to reschedule if that’s a realistic option, and the sooner you can mentally prepare yourself for this the better, if bad weather takes you surprise then you are far more likely to just cancel the run entirely.  Prepare yourself and you can work with the weather either by braving it, scheduling around it, or choosing an inside alternative like a treadmill or a spin class.

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What’s more if you know what you’re going to wear to go running it makes it easier to just get changed and go for it.

Invest in Running Gloves

I have Raynauds which means that when I get cold blood stops circulating to my fingers and toes and they go white.  This is more an inconvenience than anything else, but having running gloves last winter made such a difference to my performance, enthusiasm and morale.  They’re a relatively cheap way to upgrade your running wardrobe to be winter appropriate – I bought mine from Sweaty Betty last year.

However, if you can afford it then a running jacket is great, and most active wear brands create dedicated outdoor training kit using materials like merino wool and thermal cotton.  Whilst a good quality technical kit isn’t cheap, it does last and if you are properly training for something like a marathon then it is worth its weight in gold.

Look out for mid-season sales and the paradise of discounts – Black Friday.  Choose what you want beforehand, find out if there’s a code for online and press purchase quickly.

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Change up your tunes

When I’m running in the sun all I want to listen to is feel good music and songs that remind me of being on holiday.  However, when it gets running in the dark I need to feel a bit more steely and revved up so I listen to music with a bit more attitude.  This could mean Skrillex, Fall Out Boy or even Bon Jovi.  But listen to music that makes you feel like a bad ass who is getting shit done, not on her way to the club.

I have a variety of running playlists on my 8tracks account.

Finally, Remember the run when the sun is up

This is more relevant if you’re an early bird runner like me – but when you’re out and about and getting on with your day remember that you saw the world entirely differently just a few hours before, I personally find it quite empowering and it encourages me to stick with it and keep hauling myself out of bed.

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