With autumn now upon us, running outside can require some extra preparation to ensure it’s a comfortable experience. Even the most experienced runners can be tempted to miss out the odd run, for fear of the cold or to avoid the extra hassle that comes with preparing to head outdoors. Federico Fraguela is Running Market Manager at multi-sports retailer Decathlon, and has been a passionate and active runner for the last ten years. When he’s not busy preparing for his next running challenge, marathon or trail race, he is working as one of Decathlon’s expert team-mates, using his passion to help others discover the sport. Federico shares his top tips on how to prepare for running in colder weather, come rain or shine…
It’s a given that you’ll want to stay warm in chillier weather, but after running for some time, your temperature is sure to rise. Layering up is key to getting it right and ensuring you can easily adjust your body-heat levels. In addition to a base-layer, such as a long-sleeve jersey or running tights, add top layers that can easily be removed as well. Clothing with zips are great for ventilation and a quality windproof jacket should also help do the trick. As you build up heat, you can then shed layers without having to slow down your pace too much.
Warm up your joints
Many runners find that their joints feel tighter in cold weather. Allowing your body at least ten minutes to prepare, by either walking, using a foam roller or doing a series of intense stretches, will help loosen up joints and muscles. Most importantly, it will also help to prevent injury. As you begin your run, start at a reduced pace and slowly gain momentum.
Run into the wind
Always start off running directly into the wind on your outward journey and, on your return, try to make sure the wind is behind you. This will mean you’re not wet and sweaty hitting the cold air hard after you’ve been running for some time, so you’re less likely to get the chills. Starting off running into the wind also forces you to work harder and use more energy to move forward, which is useful for building up your endurance and running performance over time.
After a long summer it’s easy to forget how quickly the sun sets on an autumn or winter evening. You don’t necessarily have to wear high-vis, but reflective clothing is essential. Luckily, most running gear now has this built in as standard. Running lights are also extremely useful to help see where you’re going. You can find a range of LED running lights at reasonable prices, such as this one from Decathlon.
Join a club or group
As much as running can be an opportunity to enjoy some alone time, you may not feel as safe on your own on a dark evening. Joining a running club or group will solve that worry and help to keep you motivated during the colder months. It will also force you to switch up your usual routes and try something different. Check out the British Athletics website for clubs in your area or RunTogether for local groups.
Have a change of clothes ready
Post-run, your body temperature will start to drop as soon as you stop moving. Once you’re done, think about popping on a hat to keep your head warm. As soon as you’re indoors, change your clothes from head-to-toe. For women, get out of damp sports bras as soon as you can. Having a hot drink on-hand to keep your body temperature levelled is a good idea. Alternatively, a hearty soup is a good choice as it also refuels your protein and sodium stores.