It's harder running during the autumn months, it's dark and cold. When your muscles are cold they work less efficiently, so it is very important that you make time for longer warm-ups and more stretching, which should be done indoors as this will help avoid injury.
Plan ahead and be flexible with your training programme, if you know the weather is going to be bad move your long run to a brighter day. Do some cross training, use a treadmill for your speed work or go swimming.
It is important to stay hydrated in the colder months because you will probably feel more like having a hot drink. It is important to maintain a healthy balance and ensure that you get enough of the right fluids to let your muscles recover. Drink a high carbohydrate energy drink, eat fresh fruit and vegetables to help maintain your immune system.
How To Stay Safe While Running
Always try to go out in groups or pairs, running with a partner will keep both of you motivated on those cold winter days.
Follow these tips to keep you safe while you train:
- Choose well-lit, populated routes, especially if you are running after dark.
- If possible, check out your route first on foot or by car. Look to see if there are other people using your route – this is a good sign.
- See if you can run with a friend or in a group. Tell someone what route you are going to take and when you expect to return.
- Run at weekends or early mornings, where you can fit in training in daylight with plenty of people around
- Think about what you wear. Wear bright clothing and light colours. Look for clothing with reflective strips, which make you highly visible or invest in a lightweight reflective running bib.
- A secure pocket or bum bag is a good way of keeping things out of sight and safe.
- Avoid hooded tops, caps or anything else that restricts your vision.
- A mobile phone will enable you to call for help or alert someone to a change in your plans.
- Carry a personal safety alarm.
- If you are running or walking beside roads then face towards oncoming traffic and avoid parked cars with someone in them.
How Much Clothing To Wear In The Autumn
The best way to stay warm during cold weather running is to remember the three-layer system?
The base layer worn next to your skin, which should be lightweight and made of synthetic wicking materials.
The middlelayer is normally looser fitted than the base layer but should still be of wicking material so it carries the moisture away from the base layer.
The outerlayer should be a protective shell or vest that offers a defence against the elements, preferably with a zip to allow ventilation. If you overheat during a run take a layer off, if you get too cold put it back on.
Don't forget your legs, on cool autumn days wear thin tights, and heavier tights on cold wintery days. You will also need a hat, gloves and socks, preferably in a breathable material.