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December 18, 2023

 As they say up my way, it’s turning!

The weather is certainly feeling a lot fresher at the moment as those golden, crisp days of autumn subside and we’re waking up to a layer of frost on the trails. As nice as it is not to be drenched in sweat every time you finish a run, it can also be tricky to know how to stay comfortable once the cold kicks in when you hit the trails.

Do you need new kit? New shoes? Some kind of special, technical headwear?? If you have never run in the cold weather before, or are perplexed about how to approach it, here are some ideas that you could try.

1. Over Prepare.

The first rule of running in either potentially averse conditions or terrain is always to be way too prepared. This is twice as true in the winter, when the temperatures drop and the days get shorter. 

  • Going for a 5 mile trail run at 2pm? - Take a head torch in case it gets dark. 
  • Bright Sunshine and not a cloud in the Sky - Take a light waterproof.
  • Going somewhere with sketchy signal - Tell someone where you are going and when you should be back. 

Let's be honest 99% of the time these over precautions are nothing but a minor inconvenience, but you'll be glad of them if anything ever goes wrong. 

2. Layer Up.

Do you remember not being allowed to play in the snow as a kid until, you 'layered up'? Well that old advice that parents and teachers were so keen to drill into us as youths is just as true now that we're grown up trail runners. 

Always wear plenty of light, easy to remove and carry layers, that cover as much skin as possible. That means leggings, base layers and waterproof jackets! With it all on you want to be confident that you can remain at the very least relatively dry and warm even if, worst case scenario you have to stop completely.  

3. Grab Some Gloves and a Hat.

Having cold hands is miserable. It not only sucks all the fun out of a run but can also make doing really important things like, opening getting into food, using house keys and calling for help on your phone near impossible.   

4. Keep your Feet Happy.

 Specialist conditions call for specialist kit. For example if you want to go running in waist deep snow then you'd be smart to get a set of snow shoes. preyou might want to think about icey/snowy you need to This means something with aggressive lugs and possibly metal spikes/tips for icy trails. Other options include strap-on winter traction devices. These so-called ‘running crampons’ fit over flexible-soled shoes and are useful on low-level trails (but should not be seen as a replacement for true crampons in the mountain environment).

5. Pick your Routes.

As winter sinks it's teeth into the trails, some routes become rather inhospitable, whereas the firm frozen ground can make for easy running on others. It's all about picking the right trails!  

6. Feed the Furnace.

Make sure you are eating and drinking well. It can be easy to not drink in colder weather, but you still need to stay hydrated for your body to function properly. You will also be burning more calories just to stay warm, so take plenty of snacks (remember rule 1 - Over prepare)!

7. Enjoy it.

Enjoy the challenge and peace! The trails will get quieter as it gets colder, so embrace the chill and get out there!