As the cold crisp mornings and dark winter nights begin to creep in, it’s often difficult to get out the door running or to avoid pressing the snooze button incessantly. Many people find it easier to join a gym and keep warm indoors! I am definitely no exception to that. Training as a professional athlete and running twice a day every day – I am partial to doing some runs on the treadmill, especially when the weather is extremely cold or snowy. My main reason for doing this is firstly to avoid injury and secondly to lessen the chances of me picking up a cold or flu. It’s important if you are going outside and braving the cold that you are wrapped up properly. I always find it much more comfortable being too warm on a run rather than being too cold! It definitely keeps me healthier too and illness free by not allowing my immune system to be suppressed in such cold conditions. Headband, gloves and a warm running jacket are essential.
All of my main sessions are throughout the week and take place outside, regardless of the weather. Wind, rain, snow, hurricanes – you will find us outside training! Things always have to change slightly over the winter period but I aim to get one session on the track and my other either on the grass or roads with the rest of my easy runs alternating between grass, road, trail and treadmill.
With the dark nights coming into play it’s important to wear some reflective clothing if you are out running around the streets. Personally, I love my new Nike leggings. They are of a different material to my other leggings – very thick and so keep all the heat inside, plus they are super reflective which is much safer for you to be seen by cars! I’ve also been known to wear a head lamp whilst out late at night! Extremely geeky but at least I was safe, luckily I can manage to get the majority of my running done and dusted before 6pm. The perks of being full time!
Getting ill is sometimes unavoidable and I have been unfortunate this year especially but here are a few top tips to help you fight off the bugs!
- Getting more vitamins and minerals into your diet. I do this easily by making fruit or vegetable smoothies. Added in with some natural yoghurt, which is high in protein and you have a ready made recovery drink. Especially within 15 minutes of a hard training session. I also make sure that I have a Vitamin C tablet or Berocca in my drink if I am starting to feel a little under the weather.
- Adequate recovery and sleep
- Wrapping up warm. A lot of heat is lost through the head and so a head band or hat is essential in the cold winter months.
- Adapting your plans. I make a lot of changes in my schedule depending on how I am feeling. I have a few issues regarding my heart and so it is essential for me to go day by day as to how i feel. It’s made a big difference so far, allowing my body to adapt and recover as the months pass by.
- Monitoring heart rates. This is something that I’ve taken very seriously this winter. It can show a lot about how you may feel over the next few days. It can tell you if you’re perhaps on the edge of illness or whether your body has recovered from the last session. It’s something I would advise all athletes, joggers and fun runners to check as to have an illness can really ruin any plans you have regarding running, work or socially!