Brrrrrrrr! The weather is getting a wee bit nippy out, putting us well into the season of scarves and snoods here in Bristol, UK. For anyone who struggles with the idea of running at any time of year, the idea of setting foot on frosty ground from November-to-February is going to be even less appealing, right? But I tell you now, as a hot-blooded (often overheating) mammal with a standard 9-to-10 minute-per-mile running pace, once you’re out there, you’ll be glad you made the effort.
So, if you have the motivation to at least give it a go, here are five things that have really helped me get up and running in the darker, colder months … along with one major thing to avoid.
- Get your gear on!
First things first, if you don’t get out of that snuggly jumper and into some mean-looking lycra, it ain’t ever gonna happen. So rule number one is to shift your mentality by physically getting into your running gear. That’s it.
- Layer up for five/ten minutes’ time
It can be very tempting to wrap up like Joey dressed as Chandler when you’re bracing yourself to go out. However it’s not really the most practical approach, as chances are, you’ll need to start peeling layers off a few paces down the road. And it adds literal weight to what should be a freeing activity! Visualise how steamed up you usually get after some minutes of movement, and dress for THAT.
- Warm up with some active stretches indoors before you go
Last winter especially, I got into the habit of upping my heart rate just a little before stepping out of the front door. For me, this involved some jumping jacks, some steady lunges, shoulder and gentle neck rolls, and some ankle rotations. Whatever your front room allows for!
- …then a couple more once you step outside!
Now you’ve warmed up a little, get focused on phase two of your warm up, this time outside. I’d recommend some knee lifts and heel kicks (they’re one of my go-tos), followed by some gentle jogging up and down your street, before you start on your run ‘proper’.
- Bring gloves … and some pockets to put them in.
If you do tend to get nippy fingers, runners’ gloves are a good investment. Even if you end up taking them off a short way into your run, they will help you get through that first cold-blast bit, and are usually thin and light enough to cram into one of those compact pockets you find on running gear.
All that aside, there is one Big Thing to avoid in this cold weather.
ICE. If it’s skiddy outside, I really would just call it quits and go to your local gym (or wait until it thaws out). Otherwise it’s all too easy to injure yourself, and then you may not be running at all, my friend.
You’re all set!
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