This post is in collaboration with Aftershokz.
12 miles through the snow on Sunday was so much fun…until it wasn’t. And then my feet and hands were wet and numb and the promise of hot chocolate at the end of the run was the only incentive to get me through. That and the fact that it was either run or walk back to Henley as I was running on a pedestrian trail…we’re not in London anymore, Toto.
I had a couple of messages after my run about how I run through winter and stay motivated (and on track!) during the winter months…
Truth is, we’re lucky here in the UK that we don’t often get dumps of snow like we did over the weekend, so that isn’t something I have to deal with that often. It’s more just cold…and wet. In my opinion the wet is the worst, as it makes you soggy and cold (and chafe).
One of my favourite quotes during marathon training is ‘the more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in war’. I think this is so appropriate, as it captures the fact that the more work you put in now, the more prepared you will be for race day. And that means that even if the weather isn’t ideal running conditions, we still have to get our sweat on.
I thought I’d share a few top tips to help you stay on track with your training this winter period;
Stay safe. This is a big one for all runners, all year however with the dark winter mornings and nights, it is even more important. Make sure that you can be seen (reflective gear and bright colours), wear a head torch if you’re out in the dark, make sure you’re aware of your surroundings – this is where the Aftershokz bone conduction headphones come into their own… you can still hear the noise of the road, pedestrians, cyclists etc. Oh and they won’t give you electric shocks when they get wet in the snow as I’ve had happen with other headphones!
Dress appropriately for the weather, for me that means gloves and a hat or headband always, then usually leggings and a long sleeve top (and rain jacket if necessary). personally, I find that you can really tell the quality of your activewear in the cold, it should keep you warm but without keeping the moisture on your body from sweat. I ran in a pair of Lululemon leggings, a Oiselle long sleeve and a Lululemon merino polo long sleeve, a Sweaty Betty headband and fluoro gloves (make unknown). The only part of kit that let me down was my shoes which were very much not waterproof. (Apparently these socks are though!) I’ve got my eye on a pair of Gore-tex waterproof trainers and some Yak Trax to help in snowy weather!
Don’t forget to hydrate, it can be easy to forget to drink while you’re running or when you finish a run because it’s not warm out and you might not be sweating too much. I made this mistake on Sunday and ended up with a cracking headache all evening from dehydration.
Hit the treadmill – if you’ve got certain paces to hit, are worried about slipping on ice or generally feel unsafe running outside then hitting the treadmill is definitely your best bet. Even if it’s not your favourite thing, it can mean you’re able to complete your workout without compromising on your speed or safety… time to download the latest season of The Crown to get you through your long run…just don’t forget your wireless headphones so you don’t get tangled up with the cord! (The Trekz Titanium are perfect for those treadmill workouts) Have you seen my giveaway on Instagram today?
If it is wet…don’t forget to body glide/vaseline anywhere that might chafe...trust me on this.
Download a running podcast to help keep you motivated. Listening to other runners talk about their training and achievements is often enough to spur me on to push through the weather, hangover, dark and tired to get my run done. I find it really inspiring to hear about the sacrifices runners have made to achieve their goals, and it reminds me of just how much I want that BQ one day!
Think about switching the time of your run, if you an. If you usually work out at 5am, see if you can squeeze in a lunchtime workout so that it is warmer and lighter outside. Maybe you could go in the evening with a local running group or when the ice/snow might have melted, or you at least know what you’re going to be dealing with!
Join a group or friend to run with, this will help keep you accountable and safe. RunThrough is a great resource to find local groups, and members get 20% off AfterShokz products, win win! Fair warning thought, it may be harder to find someone willing to brave the conditions with you – normally the Thames towpath in Henley is teeming with runners at the weekend, I only saw one other brave soul running on Sunday! I’m actually really keen to join GoodGym in the New Year that do community projects as part of their weekly workouts.
Slow down if you need to. I was supposed to be running my 12 miler at 9min miles, however once I started running on the snow/ice it was clear that wasn’t going to happen. So I switched the focus to just completing the miles and forgetting about pace. If you do have a pace focused workout, then perhaps the treadmill or track is a good idea.
The warm up is even more important when it’s cold outside to help get your body ready to run and prevent injuries. Make sure you’ve got your muscles warm, limbered up the joints and are ready to head out the door.
Look after yourself when you get home. Have a bath, a warm shower and wrap up. Eat/drink something warming and with a good carb:protein ratio to help you recover.
Got any other questions about staying on track with your training? Or about my favourite winter running gear? I’m hosting a Twitter takeover for Aftershokz at 7pm on Monday 18th December and would love you to join us, where there will be fab giveaways, including pairs of Aftershokz’s Trekz Titanium and Trekz Air wireless headphones worth over £100! Get involved by tagging @AfterShokzUK @charliedwatson and #RBTAKEOVER
I’ve also got a pair of Trekz Titanium to give away …to enter the competition leave your running question in the comments below and I’ll pick a winner by choosing my fave question! I’ll choose and announce the winner during the Twitter takeover so don’t forget to leave your twitter handle if you have one! And of course, follow the #RBTAKEOVER on Monday evening!
This competition is only open to UK residents, competition closes on Monday 18th December at 6.30pm GMT. Winner will be chosen during 7-8pm GMT and announced during the Twitter takeover. Good Luck xx
How do you motivate yourself to run early morning? I used to find running in the morning easy, but I’m struggling at the moment. @runaroundabit
I’m running my first marathon VLM, I’m slim already and don’t want to lose weight, what’s best more food or supplements, many thanks Anita
I’m newish to running (been doing so for a little over a year) and have really got the bug – my question is: how do you explain your seemingly crazy running hobby to friends and family? No-one in my family really runs and they definitely think I’ve gone mad! My twitter handle is @jenniferluruns
Have you ever hit the wall during one of your marathons? If so, how did you fight it? @sopheatfresh
We are expecting snow overnight here, so this was perfect timing! Podcasts definitely help keep me motivated; what ones do you listen to most often?
not really a question. I’d advise choosing a podcast that you’re keen on (it doesn’t have to be running related, at the moment I’m listening to murder mile podcast) then getting out in the dark and cold doesn’t seem as bad. I also run in places I run in summer so can visualize myself in tshirts and shorts instead of 5 layers of clothing 🙂
The audiobook “Don’t stop me now’ by Vassos Alexander is a really good laugh 🙂
I just wrote about winter running too 😉 I forgot all about the chafing but it’s true – the wetter your clothes, the more chafing there is! I had forgotten this after the summer-chafing period was over.
Tell me about it. a very wet 22 mile run in November a few years ago where I chafed so bad I bled has meant the memory is lodged in my brain! I couldn’t wear a bra to work the next day as it was so bad!
If you run anywhere in the world in winter where would it be? There are some quite beautiful places out there to run when its snowy and cold 🙂
If you could run anywhere in the world in the winter where would it be?
What is the funniest or worst thing that has happened to you through exercising? I gave myself a real scare the other day. I was not cold whilst running but when I got home I had a shower, got dressed and was sitting with a hot drink but I couldn’t stop shivering. It made me really think about how careful you need to be when dressing for the cold weather. @knitnrun4sanity