The hardest part about running in winter is getting out the front door. Once you’ve conquered that hurdle, the rest is easy(ish). Here are our top 5 tips on how to turn the chilly months in to your favourite running months.
1.The Buddy System
Motivation is everything, as is accountability. Arrange to meet a group or a like-minded friend and you’ll be less likely to flick snooze and hide below the duvet. Tell yourself that you just need to be out there for 5 minutes, you can always turn back. Most times, we keep going.
No such thing as bad weather, only badly planned gear. Winter running doesn’t mean layering up to look like the Michelin Man. You want to be warm, not sweating so much that you chill down on the climbs. Just add the basics like arm warmers (removable sleeves), gloves, a windproof or waterproof (depending on the weather) and a beanie. Replace your summer tech tee with a base layer made of natural fabric like Merino wool for a toasty feel that breathes easy. The Icebreaker range is pricey but will deliver. Consider clever hacks such as Hand Warmers if you are tackling a run that will bag a few icy peaks, and wear socks that wick away wetness but keep your feet warm. Mohair socks are great for winter.
3.Light the Way
A quality headlamp makes running in the dark an absolute pleasure. It is not a luxury in winter months on the trails, but a necessity. Invest in a headlamp that lasts years; a braai light will not cut it! The Petzl Actik Core is a great option in terms of value for money without skimping on performance. Led Lenser offer a range of quality headlamps with the SEO 7R a firm favourite among trail runners. Look for 250 lumens (or more) and try a few for comfort and fit. Save money, and landfill space, with rechargeable batteries.
4.Post-Run Warm Up
Your core body temperature drops as soon as you stop running. To avoid a lingering case of bone chills, change out of your wet kit straight after your run. Put a dry hat or Buff on wet hair. And drink something hot. If you have parked at the trail head and still need to navigate a road trip home, leave a quality flask of hot coffee or soup in your vehicle for the drive.
Don’t forget, the Gauteng and Cape Winter Trail Series® kick off in June and July respectively. We’ll be waiting with hot coffee, fully marked routes, plenty of lucky draw prizes and post-race celebrations. Online entries are still open, but selling fast.
Words by Kim Stephens