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Winter Training Guide for Runners

Many runners take a more relaxed approach to training during the winter months and continue to compete in virtual races or take on challenges when the weather gets warmer. However, keeping on track with a more efficient training plan can ensure that you continue to build strength, flexibility and a general level of fitness before entering more intense training in the spring. To maintain your running performance despite the cold, take a look at our essential winter training guide for runners!

Keep Warm

Overheating may be an issue when running in the summer, but cold temperatures can be a danger in the winter, and it’s vital to keep your body warm. Remember to dress appropriately for winter running and wear layers. You should also avoid long breaks as standing still can cause your body to cool down too quickly even if you’ve been sweating.

Instead of planning a route with plenty of stops, try to keep moving and make the most of the colder weather by doing some more intense speed training that would cause overheating and dizziness in warmer weather.

Start Slow

It’s important not to start fast sprinting straight away when training in the winter, as your body needs time to warm-up before you increase the pace. Ideally, you should start off running at least 30 seconds a mile slower than your goal pace.

If you’ve taken a break from running during the festive season, then you should also be wary of doing too many miles, too quickly. The safest way to rebuild your fitness level is to create a winter training routine that steadily increases your mileage at around 10% per week rather than making great jumps in distance.

Stay Visible

The days are shorter in winter so if you’d usually train in the evenings or early mornings you may find yourself running in the dark. It’s therefore important that you stay visible to passing traffic by wearing reflective clothing.

You may also need to carry your own torch. If you’re planning to run a rural route then a headlamp may be a good option as it allows you to see any upcoming obstacles and watch where you’re placing your feet.

Tread Carefully

Snow and ice can create a challenging and often dangerous surface for running. New snow can cause you to sink as you run, making running a lot harder and old snow can become slippery and cause a fall.

Winter runners also need to be aware of wet puddles or frozen, icy patches on your route. To avoid any slips or falls remember to wear the correct running shoes and tread carefully.

Stay Hydrated

You may sweat less and lose a smaller amount of fluid when training in the winter months but it is still essential to stay hydrating when running. Remember to still take a bottle of water out with you, even in cold temperatures, and to remain hydrated especially on long or intense runs.

Keep Motivated

Motivation can be even harder to find during the darker, colder winter months. However, winter training sessions can be the ideal time to improve your running technique, strength, flexibility and level of fitness. Try to find your focus, and create a winter training routine that will benefit you, and keep you motivated until spring brings the finer weather.

If keeping fit and running is one of your new year’s resolutions then take a look at our guide on making a SMART fitness resolution and how to stick to it!

Take Time to Recover

If your body needs a rest, then taking some time off from any form of running training may be the answer. However, you may choose to use the winter months for focusing on recovery activities and maintaining your running performance rather than trying to improve your speed or endurance.

During the winter, why not adapt your training schedule to a less intense weekly mileage and concentrate on any of your injuries or weak points. It’s also a great time to schedule in some professional sports massages.

Always Warm-up

Warming up to prepare your body for running is just as crucial in the winter months as it is in the summer. A good 5-minute warm-up will allow you to loosen up, activate your muscles and increase your heart rate.

Warming up will stary your winter training session off in the right way and help you to avoid unnecessary injuries and strains. Try to incorporate walking, lunges and dynamic stretches in your warm-up routine.

Always Cool-down

Cooling-down after a winter run is also essential as it allows your body and heart rate to ease back into it’s resting state without causing an injury. Stopping running abruptly can cause dizziness if blood pooling occurs and you may feel a shock in the winter weather if you cool down too quickly.

It is therefore important to walk for a few minutes after a run and then improve your flexibility by including some dynamic stretches in your cool-down routine.

Try a Virtual Race

Our virtual race events can be completed anywhere, anytime and are ideal for the winter months. Whether you choose to run cross-country or on a treadmill, participants are able to compete at their own pace using any method they like.

Great for beginner runners and advanced runners, our virtual races are a great way to challenge yourself and stay motivated during winter training. Discover our range of 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon virtual race events!