Cold weather training tips
How to run efficiently at lower temperatures
The thing with running and wanting to run PBs is that to complete the training you need to do to achieve this, you have to go running no matter what the weather is like. Generally the cold isn't going to stop you actually running. It’s the stuff that comes with the colder weather, like snow, ice, hail, sleet, black ice, and possibly the thought that you're better off being next to the fire, that might affect your plans.
Scott is a British long distance athlete who represented Team GB at the 2012 Olympics. His marathon PB is currently 2:10:55.
When you eventually make your way out the door there are some things that you should be careful of. I know a lot of these are common sense but sometimes that goes out the window when all you want to do is get the run done and get back inside!
As it is cold make sure you start off gently and let your muscles warm up. If this means adding on an extra 10 minutes to your run then fine, no one ever got unfit by running more miles. If you're one of these people who worships the GPS and likes to have each run done at a certain pace then perhaps start the run after a 10 minute warm up jog/walk - you'll be surprised at the difference it makes.
I hate running in the cold because I would rather be too hot than too cold. I am not opposed to sweating and this is often the case as I have to be layered up to go running. We call it 'full battle gear' - getting ready to tackle the elements. You always have the option to take the layers off, but if you don’t have them to start with you'll be cold the whole time!
This does mean that I do get quite hot when I’m running and generally sweat more than I would normally even though it is cold. If you have more layers on and you are sweating you shouldn't stop and sit in those clothes for an extended period of time, as this is the quickest way to get ill.
Hydration is maybe something you wouldn't have at the top of your list of things to remember when running in the cold weather, but as you are going to be sweating more and therefore losing more fluids, it is important that you replace them. I'm sure downing a cold drink is the last thing you want to be doing after getting in from a snow storm, but you'll feel a lot better the next time you go training. Perhaps warm up the drink if it makes you more likely to drink it!
You might think that running on the roads is the safest place to avoid ice and black ice but I would say heading to the trails and parks would be safer. The roads often have a lot of standing water on them and this leads to very dangerous ice patches, whereas when you head to the grass you're not going to get this. Plus the fact it might be a little bit of a softer landing if you do fall over.
There is certainly a fine line between being sensible and going running or being stupid and risking injury by going running at the wrong time and this is where snow and ice come into the equation. If the conditions are that bad don't be afraid to go on the treadmill for a couple of day. If that is just not possible a day’s rest is not going to kill you either. Be sensible and be smart and most importantly be safe out there. If none of those options work for you, alternatively you could just move to the Caribbean!