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Just started your training for the London Marathon? For anyone training for a race in the Spring, or if you’ve taken up running as a New Year’s resolution, it can be difficult to motivate yourself in the winter. With it most likely being dark when you wake up and dark when you’re returning from work, combined with the freezing temperatures, it can certainly require a lot of willpower to get out the door. But, there are ways that you can make it easier for yourself and enjoy training outside at this time of the year! As the next part in our running series, today we’ll be talking about how to make running in winter more comfortable.

Winter Running Equipment

The clothes you need for running outside during the winter will vary depending on your experience level along with the temperature outside. If you’re a beginner, or you’re going out for a slower jog, you may want to dress on the warmer side for colder weather. For anything sub-zero, finding a technical pair of leggings lined with fleece on the inside along with a breathable fleece jumper designed for runners, should keep you toasty. Dress smart, in layers that can easily be taken off during your run should you happen to get a bit warm after you’ve been running for a short time. For extra cold temperatures, consider finding a pair of running gloves and a hat. If you’re a faster runner, or you’re doing any form of interval training involving sprints, you may find that you will warm up quickly during your run so may need less of the fleecy items of clothing. With more running experience comes the ability to instinctively know how you should be dressing depending on the temperature, so it may be a case of trial and error in the beginning. Having the right clothing will not only help to keep you more comfortable on your run, it can also mean you can train in any weather. For anyone training for a race, it’s important to stick to your training plan as much as possible, so having the right equipment can ensure you don’t pull out of a run because of the weather!

Training In A Group Or With A Buddy

Early or late in the day runs when it’s dark outside can be a huge demotivation, and depending on where you live it may also be a safety issue. Safety in numbers here can also be the key to boosting your motivation and getting impressive training results at the same time. If this is an issue for you, you may find it difficult to go running at this time of year. If you have a friend who runs, why not arrange to meet them? If you don’t know anyone who runs, consider joining a running club. There are plenty of free running clubs out there (many sports clothing or running shops tend to organise their own), and many regional clubs offer memberships for a minimal fee. Training with another person or in a group helps to motivate you to keep going when you feel like stopping, and can be especially helpful this time of year when you need to get a longer run in on a weekday when it’s dark outside. Since running is partially a mental sport, knowing you can run a certain distance without stopping is a huge confidence boost. Meeting like-minded people can also be a huge motivator in reaching your running goals!

Running On A Treadmill

There’s a reason the treadmill is nicknamed the ‘dreadmill’ or ‘hamster wheel’, it can be a demotivating form of exercise for some especially if you generally prefer running outside. But there are ways that can make it more tolerable at this time of year. If you’re a seasoned runner, using this time to improve your speed can be rewarding when it comes to participating in races or even just your local parkrun.

Interval training can be a rewarding type of training that can be done whether you have 10 minutes or half an hour to train. This type of workout is typically much easier to control on a treadmill and with consistency can give you impressive boosts of strength and speed in your regular runs. If you’re a beginner runner, interval training can be just as useful in improving your running skill. It can be difficult in the beginning to run for any period of time, so you can use this to gradually improve your fitness level.

A run-walk approach is essentially a form of interval training but can work for absolutely any ability level. If you’re a complete beginner, try running for 30 seconds and walking for 30 seconds. Altering the speed and duration of your running interval and your walk (recovery) interval over time makes this workout accessible to any runner no matter your ability, and can help to increase your speed and fitness level. This can also be beneficial for the health of your spine, since it allows you recovery time.

Running slowly but sustained can cause strain on your spine by subjecting it to a lot of impact, while running faster means the impact is smoother and less intense. Not many runners when they first start out can run for a few minutes straight, let alone a mile. Use run-walk intervals to give you the confidence to cover that distance and so that you gradually build your fitness level.

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We hope this guide has been useful in helping you reach your running goals this winter. Training in winter can be rewarding with the right equipment and motivators. It can also be equally challenging to run in the summer, so it’s advisable to find a motivator from you and stick to it!