How to keep running during winter
As the dark nights start looming in and the thermometer dips into single figures, it’s easy to forget how motivating daylight and warm sunshine can be.
If you wake up and see frost on the windows and hear the central heating switching itself on, it can be difficult to crawl out of bed and get excited about exercising outdoors.
But rather than go into hibernation, avoid those wintery blues with these tricks and tips:
Enter an event
Winter obstacle races such as Tough Mudder and Tough Guy are increasing in popularity these days. Throwing yourself in dirty muddy water in the middle of winter can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience which leaves you thirsty for more. Plus, if you have entered a race you have a commitment to train for it.
Click here to find an obstacle race
Mix up your training
Why not investigate local circuit training classes to help build strength and improve conditioning. For example, British Military Fitness sessions take place in over 140 outdoor locations. Or try Pilates or Yoga to help develop flexibility and inner core strength. A new stimulus can be extremely rewarding.
Workouts for obstacle races
If you are an avid 5K parkrunner, then have a go at trying a new course. Most cities now have more than one park run so venturing into new territory may be the motivation you need to get up on a cold Saturday morning and set a new course record or PB. And what's more it's all free - you just have to register online.
Using an activity tracker such as Fitbit or Garmin watch can help to keep you up to speed and on your toes, all the more important in winter. Having accountability by monitoring daily step goals or active time or being able to track how far you have ran or cycled can help to push you further each and every time.
If you're using the likes of Strava and are fed up of the same old routes then have a go at segment hunting. Locate segments that you feel you may be able to challenge and see if you can take the King or Queen of the Mountain title or course record. It makes for some high-intensity training and can be really fun with friends.
Talking of friends, agreeing to meet at a set time and place to go for a run, walk, ride or swim means you are held accountable to turn up. None of us like being let down so that's a real motivator to get you out of the house. Joining a club can be even better and a great way to meet new friends.
Find a club
Go off road
If you normally pound the streets by foot or bike, try seeking out the local off-road trails. Make sure you have the appropriate gear and then discover all the benefits - it puts less stress on the body, strengthens it and makes you a more rounded runner. And getting closer to nature can boost your mental health too.
Trail running - how to get started