With the days becoming increasingly shorter and a cold snap forecast to be on the way, we know that winter is never the easiest time to maintain your outdoor exercise schedule. That’s why we’ve put together five top running tips guaranteed to ensure that you find the right balance of safety and performance this winter.
Wear winter running gear
It’s really important that you dress appropriately before setting off on your run. From high vis jackets to head torches, with the dark evenings it can be difficult for drivers to see runners if they are not dressed appropriately. It’s also important to consider layering up with base layers and heat retaining kit as well as wearing appropriate footwear. Be mindful that black ice or snow can make it particularly difficult to maintain your footing. Consider investing in trail running shoes or trainers with a deeper tread to ensure that you maintain balance on your run.
Warm up and down
Warming up and warming down is important any time of the year, but it’s vital in the winter when the cold weather means that it can take a while for your muscles to adapt. Extreme temperature changes can have a negative impact on your muscles, with cold weather tightening the muscles in your body. Be sure to warm up thoroughly before heading out the front door, and take the time to stretch out those aching muscles when you get back.
Treat your body to a massage
A massage is the perfect way to give your body the focused attention it needs. Regular, tailored massages can improve performance over a period of time, but also aid with short-term muscle maintenance and recovery. If you have a big winter run on the horizon as part of an event or training regime, consider having a sports massage in the build-up or book a deep tissue massage as part of your post-event recovery process. Massages are beneficial all year round, but they can work wonders for your muscles in the cold winter months.
Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean that your body needs less water. Make sure that you keep hydrated, drinking plenty of water both before, during and after your run. Pack a small water bottle in a running belt or carry a lightweight receptacle by hand and don’t allow yourself to become dehydrated. Hydration massively aids with muscle recovery, so don’t hold back on giving your body what it needs.
Go easy on yourself
Don’t worry if you don’t make a personal best or hit the pace that you were hoping for. Running, especially for long distances can be difficult at the best of times and the wind, rain and cold only adds to the challenge. Be prepared to adapt and remain flexible. Perhaps consider easing off on the pace during the winter months with a view to introducing further distances and speed training to your schedule as we move in to the spring. You can’t expect to achieve the same results all year round. What’s important is that you listen to your body and react accordingly.
If you find that your body is in need a little help alongside your winter running regime, Jenkins Soft Tissue Therapy offers a range of bespoke treatments ideal to support you through the winter months. Contact us for a friendly, informal telephone consultation and discover the unique benefits of sports massage today.