The weather in the United Kingdom, as I’m sure we all know, is very unpredictable. I mean, a couple of weeks ago it started brightening up, and then in the past few days places have had up to a few feet of snow. Now I know that’s really not bad at all compared to some countries, but for us it’s massive. And all things come to a halt!
That can include exercise too. I don’t know about you, but I hate the cold, and even more so I hate running outside when it’s really cold or wet. I did actually write a blog post a couple of weeks ago on treadmill vs running outside and according to twitter a lot of people just suck it up. Brave, brave people. Especially for running in snow.
If (like me) you struggle with motivation when the weather isn’t too great, here’s some things that may help you to keep running…
Wear The Right Kit For The Great Outdoors
Get Some Trail Shoes
If you run outside in all weathers, trail shoes are a must. Obviously important for actual trail running (especially when wet or really muddy) but I think they’re great for road running too when icy or snowy outside. Trail shoes are different because they have raised grooves on the soles, compared to the usual flat soles. You just have a lot more grip, and the actual shoe itself is more sturdier and supportive. Though actually, last week I did see someone go out with running crampons on! I didn’t even realise they existed for running to be honest.
Have Jackets For All Weathers
I have a waterproof, a windproof and a just a thick jumper for when it’s really cold but dry. Having the right outer wear just ultimately makes a run way more comfortable. Sometimes I don’t mind running in rain, but there’s nothing worse than getting soaked through to the skin because you’re not wearing a waterproof. Plus I always think it’s way better to have to strip down layers because you’ve warmed up, than to not have enough layers in the first place.
Grab a Buff!
Straight up the best piece of kit I’ve ever bought. In fact, I didn’t even buy it – I got it free from Trail Running Mag. But seriously, buffs can save lives. You can wear them in so many ways, and even though the material feels really thin it does a great job at keeping the cold out! My most often is as a headband like you can see below, mostly to cover up my ears from the chill. This video shows 14 ways to wear a buff… So yeah, super versatile and well worth it in my opinion.
Find That Push
You’ve got the kit, you’re all prepared for the weather outside. Now time to get out. Easier said than done, right?
Have An End Goal
But that doesn’t have to be the end of your running once you hit that goal, obviously.
I find that keeping up a training plan is a lot easier when you’ve got something to work towards. Last year I had so many little races in between my ‘bigger’ ones and that helped me to keep going all year round. This year I’ve only booked myself onto two races so far (I mean, three if you count the Tough Mudder) but with them both being half marathons I know my training needs to be a little longer and more thought out about. If I didn’t have the first half marathon this month, I probably would have given up the winter running by now in all honesty.
Use Things That Inspire You
I would guess that most people know what gets them going, whether it’s reading something inspirational, listening to something, watching something, talking to someone… I like a good scroll through Twitter or Instagram at the moment. Seeing other people getting out there and smashing it makes me want to do it myself. Plus, you see people running in pretty places and you know, that’s a pretty good push to get outside. I do also like a quick browse through a running magazine though.
Find what works for you – motivate yourself. At the end of the day, it’s got to come from you.
And If All Else Fails… Head Indoors
A treadmill workout is still a workout. If it’s dangerous to run outside – like in the snow/ice we’ve had and the gale force winds we’re currently having – heading indoors is the perfect solution if you really do not want to take a day off. In all honestly, I have been relying on the treadmill for the last bits of my half marathon training. Long runs have still been outside, but shorter runs in between have on a treadmill. Because it’s cold out. And I’m soft. But that’s okay.
And you what, if treadmill bores you or you don’t have access to one – why not try something else? I mean this goes against the ‘how to keep running’ point, but sometimes a little change is good and can still help. As I said, I’ve been heading inside fairly often this year but ultimately I do get super bored on the treadmill. I’ve been including the stair climber, rowing and cycling because firstly they also work the legs, but secondly they’re still great cardio too.