For several months, it’s been one of the hottest topics on runner’s minds. From fitness forums to Twitter’s #UKRunChat (and even that foreign parkrun you posed as a lovely, relaxing weekend away to your partner), it’s almost all anyone’s been able to talk about.
I am, of course, talking about the COLD. (What else could you possibly think I meant?)
As many people do, I have long been insistent that I was not built for Britain, and there was clearly a mistake when I was born here. Spending often well over six months of the year running in single-figure temperatures and endlessly dark mornings and afternoons is enough to have anyone joining Australian running groups on the internet, pining over the 40-degree frolics through Byron Bay over your, ironically, English breakfast tea.
But until that day arrives, we hapless souls have to do what we do best – buck up and carry on with our usual British pride, even if that does mean swapping our sunnies for our balaclavas.
And while the sun is just beginning to peak out from behind the clouds, here are a few top tips to keep you toasty until things start to really heat up.
- Fuel up
Running in the cold expends more energy, so, even if you can quite happily run on an empty stomach in summer, your body might not be able to cope as well in the winter having ran out of fuel to warm you up. Some warm oat-milk porridge and a banana will keep you going for miles – just let it go down before you start haring for the door!
- Dress for the weather you have (not the weather you want)
Perhaps the bane of my running life is the winter attire. I can’t fathom how anyone is comfortable running in a sweaty, bulky running jackets – which seem to have huge pockets until you try and wedge said hat in them. So I’ve had to get creative with my winter gear, and, when it’s especially cold, plot my longer routes to loop back past my garden after the first mile for a quick de-shed of the balaclava, legwarmers, and second hoodie before carrying on. Some may this is awkward; I prefer ‘intuitive’.
- Start the workout at home
For reasons no one needs an explanation for, indoor exercise has become a bit of an essential fad over the last couple of weeks – but something that definitely shouldn’t just be reserved for rest days. Dig out that yoga mat/hula hoop/other sporting paraphernalia stuffed in the back of your cupboard, and even just a quick ten minutes of aerobic exercise will have your temperature rising before you’ve stepped out the door. (Of course, you religiously warm up, stretch, and cool down anyway… right?)
- Enjoy yourself!
For all the things I’ve said about running in the winter, it’s still, ultimately, all about doing what we love to do – running. If you really can’t deal with the cold, then don’t go – it’ll only make you loathe the sport. But if you can? Then you should consider yourself a ‘proper runner’ and think about your post-run hot chocolate (or full pint of ice cream – might as well if your fingers are already frozen).
That’s it from me for this month, so until next time… stay cool!