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Tips on running in the winter by Hannah Lees

15 February 2018 chsw Events

Running in the winter… brrrrrr! On a grey day with a biting wind heading out for a run is sometimes the last thing you want to do. But if you’re training for a spring half or marathon how can you get out and get the miles in? I asked my running group, many of whom are training for the 2018 Bath Half, for their thoughts on winter running and they had plenty to say!

Let’s start with the positives. On a beautifully sunny, crisp, clear winter’s day nothing beats winter running. Low sun on your face, frosty branches, and that wonderful feeling when you come back into the warm after a freezing run. Winter is the best time for runners who tend to overheat, and if exercise leaves you bright red and sweating then running in the dark is great.

On the other hand, winter can be cruel. Icy rain, freezing winds, frozen pavements, and those dark mornings and evenings. But with a little planning and the right kit you can learn to love all kinds of winter running.

What you wear can make a big difference to how enjoyable your run is. If your ears and your hands are warm you’ll feel much happier. A fleece headband or a buff can be taken off and wrapped round your wrist when you warm up, so it’s often a better choice than a hat. We’re all different. Some of us really feel the cold and others overheat easily which means that what works well for one person won't be right for someone else, but as a broad rule you should imagine that it's ten degrees warmer than the actual temperature and dress for that. Several thin layers work much better than one thick jacket. Layers are less bulky and they're more adjustable on a long run when you can easily experience at least three different seasons. If it’s windy, cold and/or showery a thin wind-proof jacket is brilliant, especially if it packs into a pocket.

If you’re preparing for a race through the winter, chances are that you’re going to be doing at least some of your runs in the dark. Keep yourself safe with reflective clothing and lights. A head torch is particularly useful: it makes you visible and lights your way, and nobody wants to step in a puddle or trip on a wobbly slab. If you find running at night daunting, find a group to run with (take a look at, choose well lit routes and take your phone. If the pavements are snowy or icy you may need to change your plans - get yourself some trail shoes and run off road, or switch to the dreaded treadmill until the weather improves.

So what are you waiting for? Lace up your trainers, get outside and let the February wind blow away your winter blues.