Think of your body as Play-doh!
Emma Dunnett shares her tips for running in the cold!
“As the Winter season is fast approaching, the hard graft of training is in full swing for runners working through the tail-end of this year’s road season, those preparing for the Winter calendar of cross-country racing, and those looking ahead to next Spring’s road races. Besides the training demands, the Autumn and Winter seasons’ also bring a host of challenges for both the mind and body. With more wet, cold and windy days, it’s a challenge to get those legs out the door, let alone getting our legs ‘prepared’ to go out the door.
As we are fully aware in this country, it can get pretty cold, so we need to bear in mind what effect that has on our muscles and what we can be doing to ensure our bodies are ready to run in the cold weather. The best analogy I can give is thinking of our bodies as Play-doh; the arts and crafts version of putty. Play-doh is stiff and hard to work with when it’s cold, but when warmed up, it becomes easily pliable. Although our bodies don’t technically work in this way, it is useful to apply a similar principle. Warm-up before getting started through some dynamic stretching (stretches with movement) and some slower jogging to get the heart rate up gradually and your body will thank you for the gentle ease-in to activity.
In addition, it is really important to consider what your ‘running wardrobe’ looks like during the colder seasons. Our muscles can be kept warmer through the clothes we wear; an obvious notion when we go out walking but it can be very easy to turn instinctively towards that comfy pair of shorts all year round. I would advise to layer up. Leggings can go underneath your shorts, a t-shirt can go on top of your long-sleeved top and there’s always room for a windshield jacket. Layers can get taken off, but they can’t get put on if you don’t have them. Anything you can do to get your body suitably prepared and warm before your run, will help keep injuries at bay and buffer your body for the winter season.”