As the temperatures drop and the days get shorter, motivation to get out and go for a run also seems to fail us. Let’s not forget the added worries about staying visible, fears of slipping on wet leave or mud…autumn can be a challenging time of year!
If you want to resist the treadmill for a couple more months here are some tips to stay warm and dry this autumn! See you in the park!!
When dressing to run in cold weather it is very very easy to overdress. Remember that the temperature will not feel the same when you are moving. It may seem impossible at the time. Just remember that once you get going, your body heats up quickly, which could result in you feeling TOO warm! Don’t forget that it also works the opposite way, and that once you stop running your temperature will cool down quickly. Be prepared to get out of your wet clothes immediately after finishing your run. If you are not running back home, it is always a good idea to bring a change of dry clothes to put on as soon as you finish or hop into a warm shower if possible.
I put this as my number one tip as it is by far and away the easiest one to ignore/forget! As soon as you get home, strip! As simple as that! Get out of your wet gear and into a hot shower as quickly as you can!
The key to staying dry and comfortable, whatever the weather, is layering.
Layers, layers, layers!! Layering the right materials will continuously keep the moisture away from your body ensuring that you stay at a good temperature. Look for sweat-wicking, quick-drying and breathable clothing to keep you comfortable. The best part about layers is that if you start to get too hot it is easy to adjust your temperature by removing a layer and tying it around your waist.
Avoid wearing anything cotton. It will trap heat, but it will also soak up sweat, thus keeping the moisture in which can lead to chafing. Wear thin layers, I like to choose a base layer with no pockets, zips etc. My mid layer is usually a zip up or a hoodie and if necessary I wear a waterproof jacket on top.
As it gets cooler another great option is a hat, opt for technical fabrics such as fleece. If like me hats make you overheat like hot chocolate, then go for a headband. This way you can keep your ears warm while still allowing the heat to escape your head.
As Marilyn Monroe correctly said, “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”
Whether you are running on trails, or roads, the slippery autumn conditions (i.e. the leaves!) can significantly slow you down, or worse, cause an injury. Throw some puddles, damp grass and some muddy trails into the mix and all of a sudden wet, uncomfortable trainers become part of the problem too!
Be sure to get yourself a good pair of shoes, if they are waterproof even better! It is best to go for a pair with mesh vents, allowing for moisture to get out, decreasing your chances of blisters as well as soggy feet!
Hot and sweaty feet usually lead to blisters. Getting a pair of breathable shoes will significantly reduce your risk. But to ensure a blister free winter, invest in some technical socks too. Wearing suitable socks will reduce your risk of discomfort and rubbing. If you are out running on trails (or even in the park) it is always best to go for socks with full ankle coverage. Avoid mud and little sticks and stones getting in to your shoes!!
Drinking rain water will not suffice!! Staying hydrated is essential! You have plenty of options, from water bottles, to hydration belts. There is NO excuse for not taking water with you. In order to maintain correct hydration and stable electrolyte levels, both during and after your run, drinking diluted sports drinks or using hydration tablets will give you the best combination of electrolyte replacement and rehydration to stay cool, and run easy. It is also super easy to make your own electrolyte mix!
WARM UP INSIDE. Take your time, don’t rush through a five-minute warm up before going out. Spend time on mobilizing your joints and loosening your muscles. Raise your body temperature to a light sweat. That way, when you head out into the cold, it will feel slightly less painful and your muscles won’t get so tight.
STAY AEROBIC. When it is cold our hearts beat faster, this is intensified further by running. Unless you are training for a specific event, cold weather is not the best time to push yourself to your limits. Prevent further stress on your body by staying in your aerobic zone (130-150bpm). It might feel slow initially, but it will provide the same benefits. Use it to work on your conditioning, preserve your running muscles, and simply enjoy the outdoors with friends or on your own.
First and foremost, look forward to some of the inspirational moments that winter can bring. Crunching on the leaves in the park, leaving footprints in the frost, splashing through puddles, seeing your own breath and that delicious warm glow as you go back inside and hit the kettle! Enjoy your winter runs and let us know if you have any secret tips!