Have you ever gone for a run in winter? If not, why not – is it the cold that puts you off, or perhaps the dark mornings/evenings? Before I went for my first run in the winter, I was a bit apprehensive. I knew I hadn’t enjoyed doing sports at school during the winter and I couldn’t see why it would be any different now. But I wanted to go running, as it is so easy to put on a pair of trainers, step outside the door and run. From getting my kit on to stepping out of the shower after a run, it usually takes out no more than 1 hour from my day (that’s only about 4%!). Now, whilst research might indicate that it is more efficient to burn fat from body weight exercises and lifting weights, I still think that the challenges that running brings to your body and mind are worth it, regardless of whether you burn more or less calories. As I wrote in a previous blog post, I find running difficult, and that is exactly why I do it. Overcoming this difficulty is part of the strength I want to build in my body, even if it is more mental than physical.
Anyway, coming back to running in winter, before I went for my first run I made sure I was well equipped with the right gear. That is probably the biggest change to exercising in winter that has taken place since my schooldays. Not only do I now get to choose what I wear, today’s sportswear is typically made from high-performance fabrics that provide thermal insulation and moisture transfer. And there are some really stylish garments out there!
So once I had acquired the right kit and stepped out for my first run on a cold, winter evening last year, I discovered that I actually prefer running in the cold. In the summer, I find the sun and heat absorbs all my energy and I hate the way my head gets hotter, and hotter, and hotter, and I end up with a beetroot face that drives me crazy! Instead, when running in the cold, my body temperature is just right thanks to the right kit, and the cold air makes me feel like I have an air-conditioning unit directed at my face, regulating its temperature. And as a consequence I find it easier to keep going.
If you have never tried running in the winter, then I would definitely encourage you to invest in some warm running kit and give it a go. If you run during the dark mornings/evenings in winter, keep in mind the advice in the video below from This Girl Can Run on how to keep safe:
And here are a few final tips from personal experience:
- I often wear wireless around-ear headphones to listen to music and keep my ears warm at the same time.
- Even in winter, if I run during the day, I wear a high SPF sunscreen on my face to protect my skin (I usually wear the Avène SPF 50 tinted compact all year in place of traditional foundation).
- I make sure I drink lots of water as even though I feel less thirsty compared to when I run in the summer, I do sweat a lot under my layers of running kit.
Do you like running in the winter? Share you experiences with me in the comments below.