Cold Weather Training

Winter Training

Cold weather running can be a burden to the runner as the cold can have a significant effect on your body’s responses to exercise with increased health risk. The paths can be wet, narrow and slippery and you have to watch your footing as you can slip and slide around in the dark.

However, the biggest obstacle is putting your trainers on and just getting out of the front door.  The thought of running in cold weather can have a profound psychological effect on you and can become a bit of a barrier as it’s dark now before work and afterwards.  Just the thought of going out again in the cold and dark as the cold wind whips your face and burns your lungs….it hurts and so it’s easy to say “I’m not going out for a run today, it’s too cold and dark and depressing”. Then one lost run can turn into many and we go into a downward spiral thinking that we’re not good enough and we’ve missed too much and everyone will be faster than me. Sound familiar?

Fitness is a year round endeavor and keeping positive is part of the challenge so think of cold weather training as a challenge to overcome rather than a mountain that seems too high to climb.  How does a mouse eat an elephant? One bit at a time, so take cold weather training as one run at a time, see it as a way to keep ahead of all of the people who are sat on the couch, focus on your goals for the spring as you emerge from the winter stronger and fitter.  And most of the time I’ve found that the weather isn’t as bad as it looks you just need to be prepared.

The good news is that running in cool or moderately cold temperatures can bring faster race times, remember how horrible it is to run in the heat as the sun zaps your energy?  When you run in cold weather there is  less blood needed to transport heat to the skin for cooling and more blood is available to send needed energy to the working muscles in the legs.  It's a different story if you are running in extreme cold temperatures and luckly we don't really get too much extreme cold weather in Whiteley but running in temperatures of -37 degrees C reduces both your core body temperature and maximal aerobic power which can affect performance plus the extra clothing can also restrict your movement.

If you have sensitive bronchial or asthma cold air can irritate these conditions as inhaled air attracts moisture and heat from the body and can cause dryness of the mouth, a burning sensation in the throat which can lead to coughing.  Wearing a protective cover over the nose and mouth helps most runners as this cover traps the exhaled moisture and warmth of the next inhalation and reduces the above symptoms.

Dressing for cold weather running

The key is to wear the right clothes in the right combination, so dress to stay warm but not too warm, a base layer and a t-shirt with long leggings should be suffice. Dressing in layers ensures you trap your body heat.

Dress to keep dry, a waterproof jacket over the top of your running gear acts as a layer to help you stay drier and warmer.

Dress to protect the extremities, toes, fingers, ears, face and head

Warm up and cool down

A proper warm up is even more important in winter because exposure to cold stiffens muscles and joints.  Starting training runs or races too fast on cold days could result in muscle strain and standing shivering can use up essential fuel stores. Warm up the muscles as well as the heart rate and if you are racing just keep moving/slow running right up until the start.  In winter it is important that you bring extra layers so you can put these on for the cool down especially after interval training as getting cold quickly can lead to injury.

Don’t forget to drink as you can still be dehydrated in cold weather and allow your body to adjust to the cold so don’t go out too fast in the group runs.  Try not to pay too much attention to your training pace on very cold days, just go fast enough to keep warm.

All in all winter training can be fun, running together in the rain, cold and snow brings a sense of acomplishment and achievement, a shared experience that brings us closer together.  I've always said the hardest bit is putting your trainers on and getting out of the door, but by sticking with your training your will have the strength to run faster when the flowers boom in the Spring x

When is it time for new trainers?

There is no definite answer to this question as it depends on so many factors, however in my experience one thing is for certain that running or starting running in battered, worn out shoes is the leading cause of running injuries and can be as bad for you as running in shoes that just don’t fit you.

Running shoes are a consumable so even though you may have had them for a long time but not run many miles in them, you do need to be mindful of whether they are doing the job of protecting your feet/ankles/knees/hips as with any other consumable they do have a shelf life.  However, they are generally more expensive than many other consumables and people do treat them as long term products and tend to hold on to them for a long time.

Trainers are designed to have a shelf life, if you think of the cushioning of the midsole of a trainer as being similar to bubble wrap so with every step you take some of the bubbles burst and just like bubble wrap whose bubbles have been burst you end up with an un-cushioned and flat support system where there was once cushioning. 

The knock on effect of this cushioning breaking down is that the rest of the support and structure of your shoe also breaks down which can result in you not running in the same way as you first did when you were originally fitted for your trainers.  This means that your feet, calves, quads, hamstrings and hips may not go through the same motion as they first did when you were first fitted for your trainers.  The knock on effect of this is that the body will compensate for this mismatch and this compensation leads to not running as efficiently as you once were which can result in niggles or a long term injury.

As the breakdown of your trainers happens slowing, you don’t just wake up one morning and the trainers are no longer effective, it may be hard to pinpoint exactly when you need to replace them.  Here are my top tips for recognising the signs of when to replace your trainers

  • You start to have niggles in places that you’ve not had niggles before, it may be that you are starting to have aches, pains or injuries that you have not had before
  • You have run over 500 miles (again this is difficult to determine, some professionals advise 300 miles, others up to 800 miles but weather and terrain can also play a part in the deterioration of the trainer so think about where you have run)
  • Even if you have had your trainers for a long time but you haven’t run the suggested miles in them, adverse heat and cold can break the trainers down if they have been thrown in a cupboard
  • The rubber on the outsole has worn down on one side more than the other
  • If your trainer bends in the middle easily (the support has therefore broken down)
  • There is little or no give when you press firmly on the inside of the front of the shoe

My advice is if you are unsure it's worth going to a specialised running shop, take your old trainers with you and see what they say.  Most reputable shops won't sell you trainers that you don't need.

I have also embedded a YouTube clip that will help those of you who have weak glutes, just some simple exercises to do at home, the move that I showed you last night is on this clip.

5 Easy Exercises for Stronger Glutes

These easy exercises can be done anywhere to help strengthen your gluteal muscles. Glutes (A.K.A. butt, bottom, backside, booty or toosh), hold a lot of power and strengthening your glutes can help you become a better runner, cyclist, walker, jogger, skater, swimmer, dancer, squater....you get the idea right?!

Welcome to RunVerity Coaching

A warm welcome to RunVerity coaching, I am really looking forward to working with you. 

Training Plans

The training plans are generic, I have taken into acccount the information that you have provided for me and written them with that in mind, however they are not set in stone so if you are having a good week and you feel you could do more or if you are having a bad week, let me know and I can adjust it accordingly.  Life does get in the way sometimes and running is not just about running, there are other factors that can affect performance, so look upon the training plans as recipes, see what works for you and your lifestyle, we can always add extras in or take things out, so if you have any questions, please just ask.

I will be introducing technical skills during the first few weeks of training to reinforce running skills development, I won't be changing your running style at all, just making sure that you are technically running correctly and effeciently.

Each week there will be an article written here that is designed to help you with your running and your progress, subjects I will be covering will be nutrition, how to prevent injury, how to deal with injury, how to stay motivated and if there is something in particular that you would like to know about, just let me know.

I will be setting up an ABP Facebook group so if you would like to be part of this, please sent me a friend request, Run Verity, and I will get this organised.; you can also follow me on Instagram.

Here's a bit of info about what we will be doing on a Wednesday evening

Interval Training

Interval training is based on a simple formula: run at race pace or faster for segments that are much shorter than your race distance, with recovery breaks to minimize the stress on the body.

Intervals are the heart and soul of most competitive training programs.  They are the best way to improve race performances.

All runners benefit from a mixture of long intervals for strength endurance and stamina for holding race pace, and short ones for speed and power.  We will be doing both types to improve your race times.

Interval training/speed training is training that involves a series of low- to high-intensity workouts interspersed with recovery periods. The high-intensity periods are typically at or close to anaerobic exercise, while the recovery periods involve activity of lower intensity.

The objective with Interval Training is to give you the opportunity to train in a coached environment where I will help you to run faster and stronger, where you can learn to handle a modest amount of discomfort in a safe and supportive environment. 

Hill Training

We will do a mixture of hill training sessions as well as interval training and these will be varied over the course of the 12 weeks. 

Hill training is speed work in disguise! That is because you don’t have to run as fast to work hard, running hills, like lifting weights, is resistance training. Hills strengthen the leg muscles to overcome the incline and resistance of gravity. This strengthens the driving muscles, hamstrings, calves, buttocks and the quadriceps which don’t get much work on the flats. Ankles are strengthened as the feet push off to bound up hills and since you really have to pump the arms to get up hills, your upper body is strengthened too!