Mara Yamauchi Blog: Winter running - it’s better than you think!
22 October 2014
If you're in need of some motivation to lace up your running shoes as temperatures start to go down, we suggest you read on!
In her latest blog, Mara Yamauchi explains why she loves running in the winter - and so should you...
Photo by marimo images
"We’ve had a fantastic summer in the UK this year, and I hope you’ve been making the most of September’s warm, summer after-glow. But now we’re into October and the leaves are changing colour, there’s no escaping the fact that winter is around the corner. And that means it’s more difficult to enjoy running, right? Wrong! If your enthusiasm for running tends to drop at this time of year, then please read on for six reasons why I’m a big fan of running through the colder months - you’d be surprised by how enjoyable it can be!
1. For a start, running gets you out into the fresh air and the great outdoors, and doing regular physical exercise, which are essential for our physical and mental health. Many people suffer from the winter blues when it gets cold and dark, and this can be caused by low levels of vitamin D. So getting out into the open air and enjoying some sunshine is very important for staying healthy over the winter.
2. It’s beautiful! You might think of winter as grey and cloudy. But it isn’t always so. Nothing beats a morning run on a crisp, frosty morning with the sound of fallen leaves crunching underfoot. A hot shower and that feeling that you’ve really done something after your run are always better in winter!
3. The clocks changing means brighter mornings. Many people find the darker evenings from the end of October a bit gloomy, but don’t forget the extra daylight time we get in the mornings. This time of year is perfect for getting out bright and early for a run before your day begins.
4. If you’d like to improve your fitness in the long-term, perhaps lose weight for good, and generally feel more healthy, then running all year round is really important. Why lose any hard-won fitness you’ve gained through running over the summer by letting things slip over the winter? If you stick at it during the colder months, you’ll really feel the benefits in the longer term.
5. Avoid the effects of Christmas excess! Christmas is a special time of year, but one thing it isn’t good for is our health. Many people eat and drink too much during the festive season. Even with the best intentions, Christmas parties and gatherings mean it’s hard to avoid putting on weight. But running regularly can really help with maintaining good health over Christmas, and avoiding that sinking January feeling!
6. Setting yourself a target race to work towards is a terrific motivator. There are some great road races over the winter, especially 10kms which is the perfect distance for beginners and experienced runners alike. Having a race to train for will definitely keep your motivation going over the winter. And if you’re thinking of running in a Spring marathon, a few shorter races over the winter is ideal preparation.
So, what are you waiting for? We’ve still got a few weeks of stunning autumn leaves to enjoy, but once winter arrives, I hope you’ll feel ready to lace up your trainers and keep putting one foot in front of the other."
Mara Yamauchi is a retired British marathon runner with a personal best of 2:23:12 set in the 2009 London Marathon, a time which ranks her as the 2nd fastest British female marathon runner ever. Mara is also a qualified Run England group leader and Athletics Coach.
Photo by marimo images