Park2Park race coming up and a few winter running tips

This is actually a winter scene of Green park in London that I took. Don't have any wintery ones of Brisbane!

So training is going well so far this week.

I think I mentioned already that I’ve entered the Ipswich Park2Park. Nothing like a nice hilly 5k to get the legs going. I did my first training run last week around the course and it was -1!

I’m not too good at running in the heat but I actually don’t mind running in the cold. Maybe it’s my English upbringing and living that has helped. I remember running in the rain and the snow when I was running with the Belgrave Harriers back in 2003 ( I wasn’t one of the fast ones!)  training for the London Marathon and I loved it. The first few steps are not very nice when you get outside and your brain is screaming ‘what are you doing! It’s so cold’ but once you start running and warm up it’s great, much better than feeling like you’re running in a furnace in summer.

I’ve learned a few things from winter running though through mistakes I have made and through more experienced runners telling me and I’d like to share them with you.

Hydrate

I used to often forget to hydrate myself properly because it was cold and I still do to some extent and have and do suffer the consequences. Just because it is cold it doesn’t mean that you are hydrated and don’t need water so do what you normally do and hydrate before and during your running – don’t make the same mistakes as me!

Don’t dress for a summer run in the winter

In London in winter and also here in Brisbane too I have seen people running in little shorts and vests in the freezing cold – I have one word for those of you that do this out there – NUTTERS! It’s cold – so put some clothes on! If it is really really cold then run on the treadmill inside, but if you really want to run outside dress in layers that can be removed. Not heavy fleece type layers but like Nike Drifit or Adidas Climacool. What I usually do if I suddenly warm up and get too hot is to take a layer off and tuck into my running tights. Running last week in -1 I simply wore running tights, a long sleeved top, a short sleeved top and I was fine. I know my body and know when I do and don’t feel the cold.

Look after your head, hands and feet 

I don’t know about you but I can’t stand cold feet and I can’t bear cold hands and up to 30% of heat can escape from them on cold days. I have running lightweight gloves that I got from Ron Hill that I really like so I usually run wearing them or with my hands tucked into my long sleeved top. I’ve also been known to take a heat pack hand warmer with me on really cold days but have found that my hands get too hot – so it’s knowing what you need and what you are comfortable with.

Feet wise I haven’t really had a problem with cold feet but I know some people wear a very thin pair of socks under their normal socks for extra insulation during winter.

I haven’t mentioned head but it’s really important to keep the head warm as up to 40% of heat can be lost from the head in the cold. I have beany hats, caps and a little earmuff type bandana thing which I got from Aldi of all places for $4 – and it’s my favourite right now because normally my head gets too hot in a beany so this is perfect and I haven’t had any issues with a cold head yet. If it gets below -1 I might.

The most important thing is to know your body though, as if it gets really cold and your fingers start to tingle be cautious and get to somewhere warm quickly in case of frostbite. I have been lucky to never have this but know of a number of people that have.

Visibility

It tends to be darker in the winter and if you are running early in the morning or at night make sure you dig out your visbility vest. I have a couple and whilst I look like a bit of a glo worm in them I wear them religiously when running in the dark as I don’t want to be one of the unfortunate runners that a car doesn’t see.

Remember I am no doctor, I am just giving my opinion based on my running experiences so if you are concerned about running in the cold or have any health issues that might be affected always check with your doctor  whether it’s ok or run inside during the colder months.   

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