Running in the cold

Hurrah, at last the winter is properly upon us, and the cold has settled in nicely across the UK; it has even started snowing in some places. I have been continuing with the Blogging101 challenges in January (you may notice some changes in the look and feel of the blog,) and yesterday’s goal was to head out, find new blogs that I haven’t read before, and leave new comments – to “be a good neighbour” . Today I am building upon what I read.

One short blog that I liked came from Annah Despain, a student from Illinois, USA, who wrote about her enjoyment in discovering the excitement of cold weather running.

Having run for a few years now, I have enjoyed some cracking cold weather running, and it is almost always good fun. I do have a few key thoughts which may build upon Annah’s post.

  1. Be careful – when it’s icy, it’s incredibly easy to go butt over moobs, so you need to watch out. Easier said than done sometimes with the mornings still dark before work and afterwards; it can be hard to  see icy bits with the angles provided by a head torch, too.
  2. Get off road. Some of the most amazing cold runs I have had are the ones where I have gone exploring in the snow. Not only do you often get to set fresh prints in the snow, which is properly cool, but you get to see new things in places you run daily. Be aware though, that the snow can make the familiar look so different that it’s a good idea to have maps / your phone on you to make sure you don’t get too lost having a whale of a time.
  3. Speaking of time, forget about it. Quite often, we run for time, distance, and target pace. Well, stop it. Just get out there and enjoy the hell out of the experience.
  4. Dress properly. Now, I can’t lie – I get this bit wrong all the time. I am better than I used to be, but I still find myself not quite layering enough at times, and getting overwhelmingly hot despite freezing temps outside.

Have fun in the cold. Don’t get too lost in the snow. Remember that skin is waterproof, but that it does get chilly, and that can be serious, so dress appropriately and carry stuff that will ensure you can get home safe if you are going for a long one, though you might not want to do anything quite this long:

I normally run to work on Thursday, but today was a crazy mental day of teaching (not my favourite thing to do) which meant an early start and a short lunch, so no running then either. I had a hill session on the training plan, but I couldn’t for the life of me think where I could get to a hill long enough that would take me three minutes to run up, and I was so freaking hungry for fish and chips that I only wanted to spend 30 minutes out in the cold anyway. So, with all that in mind, I decided to do the Monaghetti fartlek on the hilliest (still not very hilly) local loop I could think of. It seemed to work. I sweated well, despite the temp in the 2 / 3 degree C range, and I could do little to stop myself staring up in the oily dark night sky to gawp at the stunning stars above me. Truly beautiful.


6 thoughts on “Running in the cold

  1. I’ve always been too nervous about running in the winters, and end up running indoors on a treadmill instead. I’ll finally have try it out this year!

    1. It all depends. I just use my road shoes. You can get spiky things to add to your shoes (yaktrax etc.) but if the icy stuff is only sporadic this can be quite a hassle. I’ve never tried them myself. If you find anything that works for you, I’d love to hear about it.

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