If you are thinking about getting into running this year, don’t let the cold weather and dark nights put you off.

With the right gear and preparation, winter running can be your perfect workout to achieve your goals. Being prepared for the elements makes the running experience far more enjoyable, and you’ll, therefore, be far more motivated to get out and run.

Here is Vivi’s winter running checklist to ensure you are ready to smash away the Christmas cobwebs.

1. Choose an out-and-back course: Choose your route wisely, starting and ending at the same point. On the way out, you want to be running into the wind or going slightly uphill. On the way back, when you have less energy, you want the wind at your back and a nice downhill.

2. Wear the right layers: You don’t need to be wrapped up like an eskimo, but you do need to make sure you are wearing warm, sweat-wicking clothing. A base layer goes nicely underneath a long-sleeve running top and bottoms. And don’t forget the hat and gloves.

3. Invest in proper running shoes: This goes without saying. Proper running shoes will reduce the risk of injury and makes the running experience more comfortable.

4. Use well-lit paths: With the days short and the nights long, natural light goes quickly. That means it is hard to see your footing in badly lit areas, and drivers can’t see you very well. Stay safe and reduce the risk of slipping/tripping by running in well-lit areas.

5. Always stretch first: When your muscles are cold, they take a lot longer to get going. Before setting off, don’t forget to do a short stretch routine, with a short walk to begin to get the blood pumping.

6. Hydrate: Even though it feels freezing, you’ll still be losing valuable electrolytes through sweat. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout and afterwards to aid recovery.

7. Use music for motivation: If you aren’t feeling motivated because it’s cold and dark, use music to get you in the mood. Create a running playlist, or put on your favourite podcast to take your mind off the thought of going running. We love using podcasts as a nice distraction.

8. Find a running partner: Equally important for motivation is finding someone else to run with. A running partner can help pace you, encourage you and create a healthy competition.

9. Slow it down: With most running races a few months away, there is no reason to go PB hunting. At this stage of the year, especially if you are just getting started, work on finding a routine, getting miles under your belt, and gradually building up your time/distance – rather than speed.

10. Have fun: Winter running might seem like a chore, but it doesn’t have to be. If you start feeling bored or unmotivated, try breaking up your routine with gym classes, new routes, HIIT and so on. You could also combine your running programme with other physical activies such as swimming and cycling.1

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