Winter running can be daunting and sometimes unappealing. As we head into the colder months, we asked some of the Run Mummy Run Facebook community what keeps them motivated to run through winter and what their top tips are for winter running.
Martha Gaughan “I love winter running. I started running in the winter so nobody could see me. Long sleeved tops with thumbholes are a God send. Remember you will always warm up when you’re running so don’t go overboard with what you wear as you’ll end up running with half of it tied around your waist. Well I do anyway!”
Clair Ramsden “I love running along the seafront in the winter. It’s quieter and not so full of dogs and kids on bikes. I love my RMR snug I wear it as a scarf and then pull it up over my mouth when it’s very cold (and it also doubles for wiping my nose!)”
Ave Turner “I like to wear shorts, long socks, gloves, a long sleeve top with a gillet and a snug. Sorted!”
Eleanor Howells “I loved running all through last winter. I feel the cold terribly so had to wear a lot of layers. Primark sold a great, padded running coat last year that helped. I also took part in the advent running streak. I must add I got injured because I forgot to stretch after long, cold runs. I’ll never make that mistake again.”
Joanne Jackson “My running club helps to keep me motivated during winter. It’s so great to run in a group. I love to come home to a hot coffee, hot shower and my dinner.”
Natalie King “My snug and fleece head band are my essentials. They keep my ears warm but you don’t overcook as your head isn’t covered. If it is very very cold I might wear gloves but usually within 15 minutes I’m hot. I have been known to cut the legs off my daughter’s old tights and wear them on my arms. Then when I get hot I chuck them in a bin.”
Georgia Evans “I haven’t listened to Eye of the Tiger all summer but now with this weather I have it on on every run!”
Arran Selhi “I stay in shorts all year round. I’ve just bought myself a merino wool/silk ski base layer because as a run leader I am out for quite long periods of time. It saves me wearing ALL my kit at once to stay warm. I’ve also got some silk gloves (Ski glove liners) and they are so light and soft but just the right warmth level. My other winter tips are to always moisturise the skin really well before you go out and wear your shades in cold winds.”
Gemma Berrill “I like to warm up after a winter run with a cooked breakfast, jacket potato or a hot chocolate.”
Gemma Helen Safikhani Kashkooli “I run in Sweden. My best cold weather tips are wool long johns and thin breathable layers that you can remove as you warm up. Fleecy lined tights are great too. If your bum gets cold wear shorts over them. Gloves are also really important. A snug works well as a head or neck warmer and in really cold weather wearing it over your mouth can help warm the air so you can breathe better.”
Sarah Mackay “I have one of those donut water bottles that goes round your hand. In winter, I fill it with hot water from the kettle so that my hands don’t freeze as I’m starting out. It’s lovely to take a few sips of it to keep warm on the inside too. By the time the water has cooled down I’ve warmed up.”
Joanne Sollesse Thinking of my up and coming races keeps me motivated. I take part in cross country races through the winter. A hot shower, comfy joggers and a hoodie, followed by a cup of tea, warm me up after.
Jayne Newton “Layers. I just get too hot otherwise. I’m lucky I prefer winter running. I need the motivation in the summer!”
Man-Yee Lam “Winter running is hard core but fun. It sets you up for the rest of the year. If you can run in winter you can run in any weather!”
Jo Morris “A crisp, bright winter morning run is a wonderful way to start the day. I motivate myself to run by arranging to run with friends. A hot shower and a cappuccino are my post run treats and essential to warm up!”
Liz Rankin “I prefer winter running over summer running. It’s probably because I’m a delicate English rose who wilts in the heat!”
Annie Berwick Cowen “I definitely recommend getting a headband. I can handle most things but cold wind in the ears is a killer.”
Shona Darley “I feel like a proper runner when running in the rain and cold. Sometimes I find it difficult to run when it’s really cold due to my asthma. But I love it.”
Nova Pearcey “I find it empowering that I am not controlled by the weather. I am one of the few people out and about who is enjoying being outdoors. I find winter running pretty special and love coming back to a warm, cosy house and a hot bubble bath.”
Expert advice for winter running
RMR member and GP Helen Metcalfe, tells us about about the dangers of hypothermia when winter running.
As a GP I want to share a few warning signs and tips for avoiding the potentially serious problem of hypothermia when running in colder temperatures. Runners are at risk of developing hypothermia when the temperature drops this low. We can easily make the mistake of assuming we’ll warm up as we run (guilty as charged here), but if the weather is very cold we can often fail to produce as much heat as our body is losing. Post-run symptoms of hypothermia range in severity from mild-severe uncontrollable shivering and numb fingers and toes, to loss of co-ordination, and confusion. If you’ve experienced any of these it’s worth considering what you can do to lessen the risk of developing hypothermia when you go out again. (I’m a runner, of course I’m not going to say don’t run!)
We lose lots of heat from our head and hands, so a warm hat and gloves are a must. NOT a warm headband if it’s really cold, as although your ears will be toasty you’ll lose heat from the top of your head. We are at far higher risk of developing hypothermia if we get damp or wet, so if it’s damp out there then a waterproof or showerproof jacket is a good idea. Stepping around puddles, if possible, or even investing in some waterproof socks (Seal Skinz are fab), is wise as wet, freezing feet lower your body temperature considerably. Many of us hop about in frustration for a few minutes before we start a run as we wait to get a GPS. You might even need an additional layer, that you can then peel off and tie round your waist. If you’re starting to turn into a block of ice, don’t wait for the GPS and just run!
If it’s really windy as well as cold, ideally head out into the headwind first, while your body is still warm, and run back with a tail wind that won’t chill you so much for the later stages of your run. And head for the woods and the trails, where you’ll have some protection from the wind, and it won’t be quite so cold. Warm up well when you get home and get out of any wet gear immediately. Get those warm woolly socks on! I just want to remind you to stay safe, and enjoy your winter running.