5 ways to rethink long runs in Winter

by | Nov 19, 2021 | Technical Articles

Lost your long run mojo? Here’s how to add more mileage over Winter

Lost your running mojo since the clocks changed? You’re not the only one. This time of year is an annual challenge for even the most dedicated runners. Let’s think outside the box.

5 long run challenges in Winter

Safety – let’s face it, running in low light doesn’t feel great. There are risks from road users, car headlights, poorly-lit areas, wet leaves, ice.. the list goes on.

Darkness – running in the dark isn’t just a safety issue, it’s simply not as enjoyable as being able to see stuff!

Temperature – as chilly days turn into sub-zero temperatures, the idea of running becomes much less appealing (especially if you suffer with Raynaud’s or asthma)

Weather – rain, fog, ice, wind, snow… at this time of year, it can take half an hour to work out what to wear for a short run!

Energy – this time of year can sap your energy, and if you’re feeling ready for a sleep by 4pm it’s difficult to muster up the energy to run after work!

The best alternatives to long runs in bad weather

So what’s the best strategy if weather, daylight hours, or your energy levels are making long runs impossible? Look on it as a great opportunity to enjoy different forms of running.

Hill reps or shorter but hillier routes are a fun challenge which will build amazing cardiovascular fitness and tone your legs and bum. Do one hill-based run per week, alternating between faster and more intense hill sprints, and endurance-boosting hilly routes.

Short race-pace or tempo runs are a brilliant way to focus on your pace (you could even experiment with running negative splits). Use a route you are familiar with so you can concentrate on your pace, and measure your progress week on week.

Treadmill sessions don’t have to be boring, set yourself challenges or do specific interval sessions that are easier on a treadmill than outdoors. The controlled environment means you’ll always be able to do your planned session regardless of weather!

5 strategies for Winter long runs

1 Run in the morning – if you can get up earlier (or start work later!) try running in the morning, you’ll be guaranteed daylight and the exercise will fire up your body and brain for the day ahead

2 Shorter runs, more intensity – when the weather is unreliable, crank p the intensity to make shorter runs more impactful. Speed, pace, and incline are great ways to add intensity.

3 Run with a friend – if you can’t beat em, join em. Running with a good friend can make even the darkest, wettest run the highlight of your week.

4 Invest in a running torch – every British runner should have reflective kit and a running torch. We like the cross-body torches with a light front and back (make sure it’s fully charged).

5 Join a running club – running with a club or informal group will give you motivation, energy, and strength in numbers as you tackle the dark and soggy streets!