Winter can be tricky to tackle. We get it – the weather is wet, cold and windy and it can be difficult to know how to train effectively.
However, with cooler conditions comes quieter routes and the ability to push your runs a little bit harder, and as long as you have the correct kit and a battle plan, there’s no reason you can’t smash it.
Why it's important to keep running in the winter
If you plan on picking up training again in Spring or perhaps want to get in a race next season, you might find it difficult to get back into it once the weather warms up if you don’t keep going.
We also know that exercise is a great way to improve health, both mental and physical, so don’t put away your trainers just yet!
How to tackle it
One way of approaching winter training is to see it as your training base and foundation work – a strength and base phase towards any spring goals. Venture into the park with those trail shoes on and run some hills and/or cross country loops as a way to get you stronger. You could even look at including some hills naturally into your weekly threshold blocks as a way to challenge leg strength, glute activation and core stabilisation. It’s hard to recreate on the treadmill the strength and agility gained from pushing up and down on muddy hills or undulating mixed terrain trails!
You could also look to race some shorter cross country routes or trails as a way to work on your VO2 max (maximum oxygen update) and strength endurance.
Get the right kit
Layering up and investing in a good pair of trail shoes is vital for winter training. Read our blog post on Winter Running Essentials for more ideas.
Make sure you're staying safe
Running in winter requires more thought when it comes to safety than other times of the year - there's less visibility, trickier terrain and slippery pavements that can pose a risk to runners. Here are a number of ways to ensure you’re staying safe whist training in winter.
- Think hi-visibility clothing. With the days getting shorter and usual running times such as morning and evening getting darker, make sure you’re visible while out running with light up accessories and reflective clothing.
- Choose your time wisely. If you feel cautious about running at night, try and fit in a run on your lunch break or make sure you set time aside on your days off to fit in a longer run. If you’re working from home, you could run in the time you previously spent commuting or take advantage of any flexible working policies available. If you have no choice but to run at night, try to run in a well-lit and busy area.
- Stay together. Try and run with other people where possible (just make sure you’re adhering to Government guidelines) or take your phone with you in case of emergencies.
- Avoid the most extreme weather. Be aware of ice, snow and super wet conditions, as these all pose an increased risk of injury.
Don’t forget your nutrition when training in the winter! It’s more important than ever to make sure you’re fuelling, hydrating and allowing your body to recover so you can thrive throughout winter… not just survive!
- Energy: If you’re looking to push yourself harder over winter, it’s important to give your body the fuel it needs! Try Energy Gel Aqua.
- Hydration: Hydration is an easy one to forget when it’s colder out, but it’s still just as important to keep drinking water and replacing electrolytes lost through sweat. Try ZERO Protect – you can even try it hot to warm yourself up!
- Recovery: Recovery is a key part of winter running nutrition. It’s more important than ever to allow your body time to recover to keep it in form for your next training sessions and for spring. Try Recovery Drink – you can even make into a hot chocolate for a post run treat!
- Protect: Look after your immune system, especially during and after your run. Find out more about the key vitamins and minerals you should be taking in this blog. Try a daily multivitamin such as Sports Vitamins.
Most of all, enjoy your winter training and good luck!
HIGH5 Run Pack
The HIGH5 Run Pack contains the nutrition essentials to support your next run or race with a combination of our most popular Energy, Hydration and Recovery products for runners. Get yours here.