Winter training

Now that winter is upon us please tell me I'm not the only one who can't fit a running schedule around work , what with the dark nights / mornings etc ?


  • Autumn / winter runs can be marvellous – getting out there in the dark crisp nights can be as productive as any summer sessions

    You need to adapt you running and stick to well lit paths and roads and it’s the perfect time of year to work on things such as hill reps etc – because its dark no one cane see you running back and forth and think you’re a bit of a nutter

    Learn to enjoy the dark BUT also try to get at least one run in during day light hours (normally at the weekend)

    The winter is not an excuse to let your training suffer – embrace it

  • See my main problem is that when I run I wear my prescription sunglasses , they're lighter than my other specs and stay on my nose. If I take them off I can't see much. If I dont wear them when its dark .....
  • I keep my normal specs on with a bit of elastic – this is for cycling as I don’t bother wearing them for running – but same problem
  • I'll have to change my route to one with street lamps
  • Hi Mercury,

    I'm with WW on this one - I LOVE my early morning autumn/winter runs. I leave the house in the dark and as I shamble my way round my route the sky changes colour, the birds start to sing (I'm nowhere exotic - just Woking!) and by the time I get back home I feel FAB (don't look too good though!).

    Re: the glasses thing - how about daily (or monthly - my choice) disposable contact lenses? You can also get those "sport" strap thingies that fit onto your specs and are adjustable at the back of your head - basically a shop bought version of WW's elastic!

    Let us know how you get on.

    Happy Shambler!
  • I can't comment about the glasses, but the dark doesn't need to stop you running. I live in a three street lamp village, so I run with caving torch, flashing arm band and reflective gear.

    Like WW, it really does help you to appreciate the weekend daylight off road run
  • Yup, I reckon you just have to adapt your routes to dark friendly streets
    oads and go for it. How do folks feel running in the dark, I think it can be kind of exciting, I always feel like I'm running faster (even though I'm not) when it's dark.

    Crisp cold morning runs when the mist is still down can be beautiful too, and they really make you appreciate the hot shower afterwards!!

    Wahey - winter is on the way. (sorry for that...)
  • Johnny - do you mean one of those lamps you wear on a head strap or just a hand held torch? I've often wondered about a head-torch, but wasn't sure how comfortable they are.
  • I cant face running in the cold and dark mornings of winter,so i ve just bought a treadmill.I do about 40 a week on it and its the best thing i ever bought.Cos of work i have to run at about five in the morning,so its ideal.
  • Being a female dark nights do not really appeal. However I don't let it stop me training, but I try to get out before it gets too dark unless I'm running with others. I also stick to well populated, well lit streets.

    While I love training in the summer, I don't really enjoy racing in the heat. I much prefer the winter for racing, but not for training.
  • I agree with Hilly. Being female is a bit of a problem and running in the dark. I live in a village and usually run along the lanes but I can't say that it appeals in the winter for mainly safety reasons. I might try the going out early as it gets light but I think I might try joining a club for the winter, other than that it's the treadmill during the week and out at the weekend.
  • Jo,
    Sorry about the delay.

    Yes, I use one of those torches you wear on the head. My children disown me, but its light and comfortable. Adjusting it over my winter wooly hat (dayglo yellow of course) takes a bit of time before setting out, but once thats done you can more or less forget that its there.

    One caution - if you do encounter oncoming traffic, don't look straight at the driver - the night time runner's equivalent of not dipping your headlights!

    Village Runner - yes, running with a club is a good way of ensuring a couple of safe nightime runs in company.
  • One other tip, when running in the dark & just using normal night vision, if confronted by a car etc with headlights on, close your good eye until it passes & you will retain a lot more of your night vision. Very handy for avoiding trees & other hard obstacles ( voice of experience)
  • Oh, almost forgot to say, winter time is when having a considerate employer really helps. I am soooo very lucky in having an employer that lets me work flexible hours AND has showers on site, so going out for a run at lunchtime for me is easy (I realise how lucky I am).
    It's only when the dark nights of winter appear that I fully appreciate being able to take off for 6 miles at lunchtime. Honestly, from now on I will always ask prospective employers about showering facilities on site, and not just for prospective bike commutes.
    On another note, if I have had a badstressfull morning I find after a lunchtime run, I can work much better in the afternoon than if I had just eaten some sandwiches at my desk. Anyone else find their daily run to be a really good sress reliever
    evitaliser? Maybe we should market this to employers?
  • To follow on from Nick M., I wear a baseball cap and the peak works really well to keep on coming car headlamps from blinding you. It's also great in the rain as the peak keeps the rain out of your face/eyes.

    Happy Winter Shambler!

  • Our club's Tuesday runs are in the forest during the summer, but on the roads in the town during the winter. The winter road runs start today, unfortunately. I find though that running alone in the dark focusses my thoughts on my tiredness, my aches and pains and how far I still have to go because there's no scenery! Running with other people is better because I forget all those things and just get on with it. As for rain - it always looks worse from the warmth of the living room, so I force myself to get out and get wet. But despite all those positive thoughts I really don't like the winter at all! It's just a case of grin and bear it.
  • I guess I am lucky that I work offshore so when I am at home I can still go out during daylight, I still love going out early though and there is something special about being out on a cold, crisp winter morning that really makes it worth while.
    When I am aork I use a treadmill too, I find it boring but it does help my concentration a lot.
  • Andy

    I usually run at lunchtimes, but wimped out today. My excuse is that my clothes hadn't dried enough out from the cycle in for me to go running in the rain!

    As well as showers I'll ask for somewhere to hang wet training/cycling kit when I go for any other jobs.

    I'm as blind as a bat without my glasses so I use a baseball cap when it's raining and wear my normal glasses, but I've just splashed out and ordered some adidas gazelles with prescription clip-ins, I'll let you all know how I get on with them.
  • I live in a village and within 4 mins each direction I am out of street lights. I have started to run at lunchtimes but if I can't get out it has to be in the dark. I wear a run-a-brite bib and carry a lightweight torch. Most of the time I have it turned off as your eyes get used to the dark but when I see a car coming, even if I am on a path, I switch the torch on and point it at the path in front of me. I find that this stops the blindness that you get from the dazzle after the car passes and then you can switch the torch off again umtil next time. Again I will switch it on if I hear a car coming from behind me. I live in a really quiet area so there aren't too many cars. Being a female does make you more wary about going out in the dark and I am very concious of any noises around me. I do limit the night runs to about 30 - 40 mins and try to get a longer one in during the weekend. I don't feel happy going anu further away from the village than about 1.1/2 miles before turning to come back. Roll on next March.
  • Niggle,

    I'm really interested in these adidas gazelle things but couldn't find any information on them on the adidas website. Presumably they are sunglasses that you can fit prescription lenses in. Any other info?
  • Helllo mercury,
    And all you winter runners out their I have just been looking at some of the thread you posted
    about winter training.With me being a woman I am also wary about getting out.As by the time
    I get home from work,the dark nights have set in.
    I shall be going to my training tonight:Which will get me out:This I don,t mind as its at the track!And
    their is always someone around:Also flood lights.

    But I have not been out since last week:Also due to me doing the oban half:Just wanted to rest well
    before doing any more running.But I was also wondering what more experienced runners do when
    the winter does set in?Usually at lunch time in my work place I see a few people out running
    and in saying that:Today I did not see anyone out their!

    Is it just a matter of keeping to the same routine as you do in the summertime? Mind you shall need to
    invest in some winter woolies and fluorescent bibs/jackets!

    Should I maybe start going out for a run at lunch time?Although I wanted to keep my lunch
    breaks,to go out for a walk with a few of the other girls! Like I normally do.

    What should I do? Any suggestions?Anyone.
  • I was running in the dark for most of last winter and it is an fantastic experience. Can be a bit creepy if you don't know your route! I was running in Burnham Beeches and the lanes around and took to carrying a small (AA cell) maglite with me. Useful for finding your trainers when you have stepped into some mud and it has come off your foot! Also useful for shining at on-coming traffic on the short stretch of un-lit road and lanes I had to use to get there!
    I have got a strap that holds the torch onto the side of my head (look like a nutter but works well!) however your vision is limited when you breathe out a cloudy winters breath!

  • Last year I resorted to running the last five or so miles to and from work, but I found it a real pain having to organise change of clothes etc. especially as facilities at work leave a lot to be desired. I live in a small village, no pavements, no street lighting and very dark, narrow lanes. I considered going the running by torchlight option, but worry that I won't be visible enough to traffic. I'm really motivated and quite fit at the moment having upped my training considerably, so I really don't want to let it slip as I have a lot of races between now and Xmas. Today I've resorted to taking a half day in order to get a longish mid week run in, but I obviously can't do this too often. I don't mind the cold/wet/mud/snow etc. but I HATE the dark!
  • In summer our runners go out on the country lanes, but this time of year we head for the industrial estate - pavements, quiet roads that are well lit and not much traffic after about 7 pm. I guess we;re just lucky having such a facility within a mile of the Club.
  • MinksMinks ✭✭✭
    I don't actually mind running in the dark, now that I've got used to it. It actually makes me feel quite virtuous for having got out there instead of heading straight for the warmth of the sofa. As a woman, though, I am a little concerned about safety. I have made sure that my weeknight route is along well-lit, residential streets - I would be very wary about running alone along deserted, unlit country roads. It's a real dilemma for female runners over the winter: do you lose fitness by not going running as/when you'd like, or do you risk personal safety by running alone in unlit places?
  • I've joined a running club that meets two nights a week (Wellingborough) but the other three nights I have to go out on my own. I live on the outside of a small town (Raunds) and have to run the backroads at night. Most of the time they are quiet with very few cars but there is no lighting at all. When cars do drive by they are only a few feet from me and travelling about 60 mph. Not very comforting but I've got no track near by and the town is too small to run through. I am training for a marathon so I've decided that I'll take the chance with night time running.
  • Well I solved my problem by joining a gym , this way i can do that X training stuff and also run in the dry without banging into things. Anyone got any pointers on what muscles to exercise on those nasty torture machines to improve my running ?
  • Stevenitis, funny to read that - I'm a Manc, but my parents now live in Rushden! And, when staying with them for a month or so over summer, I was temping in Raunds. I usually cycled the 6-7 miles to and from Raunds (depending on whether you go straight down the A45, or via Stanwick, etc), but occasionally ran.

    I found that if you go from Raunds to Stanwick, then Stanwick to Higham via the A45 (the old road is used as a makeshift footpath!), round Higham and Rushden, and then back, you can get a pretty good long run in. You can add more mileage by continuing from Rushden to Wellingborough, though for some reason there is only a cycle path on one side of the A45 that way (?)

    The above is the least dodgy night-time route I can think of, though the council haven't exactly excelled themselves with providing lighting no matter which way you go!
  • running in the dark is great - no one can see how puffed I am and how red in the face. I run to work, rather than getting the tube, it actually takes the same time and because I have a purpose to my run, it is a real motivitor.

    Most of my collegues think I'm mad.
  • Running in the dark is a different experience for men than for women. For women it is about calculating routes which maximise personal safety which invariably means putting up with more abuse from groups of youths, everyone would enjoy running in the dark in a safe world, afetr all we don't fear the dark because of its supernatural associations but because it is really a more dangerous time to be out.
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