Winter running tips
Did you know it takes approximately 20 minutes of running to use up the calories from a mince pie?
So if you want to burn off those Christmas calories, read our top tips for running in winter and get fit for the new year.
Before your run
Warm up inside during the winter months so your body can heat up progressively allowing your muscles to be ready to meet the cold outside. Walking to start with is recommended, gradually increasing your pace into a run.
Multiple layers rather than one big layer protects your body from the cold. Technical tops can draw sweat away keeping you warm. Cover all extremities (head, neck, feet and hands) as almost 70% of all body heat is lost through these. Don't forget reflective strips so you are visible.
Wearing tight shoes cause your feet to be compressed losing blood flow and heat - always wear shoes slightly too big rather than too small. Keep your feet dry by avoiding shoes with lots of mesh.
While you're running
Breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. This makes the air warmer when it enters the body and arrives at the lungs.
Take a bottle of water consuming small gulps as you go. For a long run take a cereal bar or dried fruits. The brain and muscles need the extra glucose to fight the cold and maintain energy levels.
Running with a buddy will increase your will power and motivation on a cold morning run!
After your run
For the last 10 minutes start to slow your pace down to a walk.
Stretching down at the end of a race is even more important in cold weather. It allows the body to cool down slowly to prevent muscle tension and hyperthermia. Do this inside.
As soon as you stop exercising your temperature will start to drop. Change all your clothes and have a warm drink as soon as you can to avoid a chill.
If your New Years resolution is to get fit, why not start by training for one of our events?
Aly Dixon's training tips
And to help you with your training, we’ve got some advice from GB international marathon and track runner, Aly Dixon.
1. Get motivated
Sign up for a charity run and set a realistic goal to complete it - this will keep you energised and help you train. You’re getting fit and giving something back.
2. Warm up
Jog gently to warm up and stretch after your run. If you stretch before you are warmed up you risk the chance of pulling muscles as they are not loosened up.
3. Set a plan
Seek advice from your local gym or running club who can help you work on a suitable plan for your level of fitness. They can also give you advice on running kit and doing core work.
You don’t need to overdo the training for a 10k but aiming for three times a week is a realistic target.
5. Run to visit someone
A great way to exercise outdoors - just five minutes of seeing a familiar, friendly face can be the highlight of an isolated older person’s day.
Good luck with achieving your first PB!
10k is a great distance to tackle and is my favourite distance behind my specialism of the marathon. It's more challenging than 5k and requires a reasonable level of commitment to training, particularly if you're not used to running at all.