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7 winter trail running tips

Sports — 5 December 2014

Dark mornings, icy roads, gusting winds and sub-zero temperatures ... running during the cold winter months can be a real challenge, sapping our motivation to get outdoors. But winter also can be an advantage, since it forces us to change our training patterns. So don’t get lazy just because it’s cold outside. Here’s how to stay motivated to train outdoors through the winter...

Follow Kilian's example:

Don't run! The world's top trail runner does not run over winter. “I spend half the year running and half the year skiing,” he says. “I don't run in winter. It's good to make a break and try other sports. If you live where there's snow, it's better to go cross-country skiing or ski mountaineering. Running in the snow can be good,” he adds “but you need to take care because the muscles work differently and you can pick up injuries.”

Gear up

There's no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothing, so goes the adage. Since your feet are the most important, it makes sense to look after them. Gore-tex lined running shoes are ideal for snow and wet conditions. When there's snow and ice wear shoes with spikes. The Salomon SNOWCROSS CS are ideal and will ensure you can get outside no matter what mother nature throws at you.

Work on your style

No, we don't mean which gilet to wear – your running style. If you're running at night and on trails, speed work is out of the question. So it's a chance to slow-up and concentrate on your technique and work on your form so you're more efficient and less injury prone.

Don't overdress

It's temping to put on all the layers before heading out the door but even in the coldest conditions your body will still warm up and there's nothing worse than over-heating in the cold as that dampness will chill you the moment you stop. Head out the door a little cold and start off easily so you warm up gradually. Consider taking a running rucksack to carry an extra layer and survival extras like phone and energy food.

Track Back

With your Suunto Ambit you never need to worry about getting lost and failing to make it back home. If you lose your way in the dark, simply hit Track Back on your GPS watch and let your Ambit show you the way home. For a fuller description on how to use this feature, click here.

Run to time rather than distance

Plan a time-based training program, meaning that workouts are prescribed in minutes rather than kilometers. This recognizes the variability of running conditions due to weather. When it's cold and slippery, it's hard to maintain the same fast pace you might in the spring or fall.

Go inside

Indoors isn't so bad and a bit of training at the gym can really improve your running fitness and overall strength. Think about signing up to a core-strength building class like Pilates or circuit training.