Running is a favoured way of keeping fit and healthy, with charity races and marathons increasing in popularity year on year. In 2016, the London Marathon saw around 36,000 completing the race, but that number increased to 39,400 in April of 2017 with weather temperatures being a cool 14 degrees. Training for Charity races are difficult, but having to win your place in the London Marathon, for example, motivates runners to train year round, even in the harshest of conditions.
One of the harshest being the entirety of Winter, you wouldn’t see me running in the ice or snow, I can hardly balance on wet paths, let alone icy ones! But if you are a runner worried about how the colder weather will affect not only your running, but your body itself, here are some tips for keeping healthy and safe while completing your laps.
The clocks going back mean daylight disappears before we know it, sunsets in the afternoon while you are still in the office and waking up wondering why your alarm is going off in the middle of the night when in reality it is 7am. Be sure to wear high visibility if running near roads, such as a hi vis jacket, or bracelets that reflect car lights so you are seen. You can also use well floodlit areas if you are running alone, or check out your local running track, which often have evenings open to everyone.
Running alone can be difficult, particularly when it is cold. Keeping to a routine will keep motivation high, rewarding yourself with a good film or the festive hot drink you’ve had your eye on if a week is successfully completed. Getting your friends involved can also be a great motivator, as running together can help improve the pace and challenging each other to beat personal bests will add a competitive aspect while keeping you safer together. Another good motivator is music. Invest in a good pair of wireless headphones to avoid tangling wires or ripping earphones out and fiddling to pick them back up. A playlist of songs that are energetic can really boost motivation towards the end of a training session.
While it is essential to stay warm while out in the cold, some warm clothing can be bulky and restricting. Your body temperature will also increase quickly while you start your run, so try not to overdress and get hot straight away. To stay warm but also have the flexibility to run freely, we recommend using a base layer, such as a tight long sleeve top and running tights or leggings, to keep you comfortably warm, while adding other tops and bottoms over the top. Windproof and waterproof jackets are great for unpredictable weather conditions, as well as a headband and gloves. If you get too hot while running, you can always remove items and tie them around your waist, ready to put back on if needed again.
While training for any running event, it is important to provide your body with protein rich foods play a key role in the energy and preservation needs for endurance in any athlete. While carbohydrates play an important role in fueling the body, proteins are well known for repairing, maintaining and growing body tissues. Start the day with something protein rich such as boiled eggs and spinach on whole wheat toast to include your fueling carbs, or for a quick alternative use the Bake It Slim pancake mix, with 15.6g of protein per serving. Simply add water, mix and cook.
At the starting line while waiting to start, your adrenaline will be pumping through with excitement, potential nervousness and exertion. Use this adrenaline carefully, as running to quickly too soon can exhaust you and you will struggle to complete the race, or cause an injury if you push your body too hard.
Over the course of the race you will lose a large proportion of water from your body, so re-hydrating throughout and after is essential for not only completing the race but for your body to recover afterwards. Often throughout the course of a race, the hosts will supply water bottles to collect on your way around the course. Though caffeine can be a stimulant and improve your running due to the loving burst of energy, it has a negative impact on hydration, so try to avoid high caffeine drinks to allow your body to recover quicker. Opt for a formulated post-workout drink that contains vital nutrients to hydrate and recover muscles.
After countless miles or kilometres of running, your body will be feeling the effects towards the end. Managing cramps and aches are important to ensure that you not only finish the race but avoid any long term injuries. Adding the correct nutrients into your diet pre-marathon will help avoid this. We recommend adding FORZA Glucosamine Plus for joint and bone health, for keeping joints and joint tissues in top condition for taking the impact of running a marathon. They include added vitamins C and D to maintain healthy bones, while copper maintains normal tissue.