9 Tips For Staying Safe And Motivated When Running In Winter
Written By: Ben Mounsey
Stay safe and motivated when running this season, with our top tips and recommendations for winter training on roads and paths.
1. BE SEEN, BE SAFE
Running in the dark can be a dangerous and daunting experience, especially on busy roads. That’s why it’s vitally important to be highly visible to motorists, cyclists and other pedestrians.
Here are the essential pieces of kit that you will need:
A HI-VIZ JACKET
Be seen and stay safe this winter by wearing some of the brightest and most visible clothing on the market. We recommend the Higher State All-Over Reflect Jacket for unrivalled 360 degree reflectivity. Or for a more lightweight option, the Higher State Reflective Ultralight Jacket is a fully waterproof and completely packable design.
Specifically designed to provide lightweight protection, the Ronhill Life Night Jacket is ideal for cold winter runs, providing a balance of wind resistance and breathability.
Stay warm this season by ditching your summer shorts in favour of winter tights.
For the best value for money, we recommend the Higher State Winter Reflective Tights. Not only will they help you fight the cold, they are perfect for night-time running with reflective detailing covering the lower leg.
Offering the most supreme visibility are the ASICS Lite-Show 2 Winter Running Tights. Made from brush-knit fabric to provide additional warmth and with 360 degree body mapped reflectivity, the ASICS Lite-Show tights are available in different styles for both genders and ideal for winter running.
And for the ultimate protection against the elements, check out the Nike Epic Luxe Run Division Women’s Running Tights. They are water-repellent, wind-resistant and have reflective trims and zippers.
HAT AND GLOVES
No winter outfit is complete without a hat and gloves. We recommend the Ronhill Beanie & Glove Set – the perfect winter accessory kit for those colder runs. Both items have highly-visible detailing to improve safety.
2. LIGHT IT UP!
For ultimate visibility, wear a headtorch to light up your runs. Compact, lightweight and extremely practical, the PETZL Tikka Headlamp is our recommended choice for an entry level model. With 300 lumen brightness, it is ideal for running on the road and available to purchase at a very affordable price.
For those wanting to explore the trails in the dark and in need of more light, the SILVA Trail Speed 4XT Running Headlamp is an extremely lightweight, compact and very powerful model, boasting 1200 lumens on its maximum mode. It also features a long-distance USB rechargeable battery pack with a maximum burn time of 5 hours to ensure you’re never caught out in the dark.
3. WEAR A PERSONAL SAFETY DEVICE
Wearing a personal safety device like the run angel will give you extra confidence when running alone. In the event of an emergency, the device emits a loud 120db alarm to attract attention. It has a Bluetooth connection to mobile devices and users can download the compatible app to alert family and friends when the run angel is activated. They will then receive an SMS and email, showing the time, date and location of the wearer. This device is highly recommended for runners, cyclists, walkers, students and travellers.
4. TELL SOMEONE WHERE YOU ARE GOING
Always plan ahead and tell someone where you are intending to run, when you’re setting off and roughly when you expect to return. If you live and exercise alone, give someone a ring or send them a text message before and after your training. It might seem a little over the top, but accidents and incidents can happen so it’s always best to be overly cautious than underprepared.
5. CARRY YOUR PHONE
Carry your phone in case of an emergency and always make sure it’s fully charged before setting off on your run. Battery life can deteriorate much more quickly in cold weather, so keep it warm and protected from the elements by storing it inside a small waterproof bag or case. Plus, in the event of an emergency, you can call 101 or 999 (non-emergency/emergency helplines).
6. CHECK THE FORECAST AND WEATHER CONDITIONS
Check the weather forecast before you set off for a run and make sure that you are fully prepared for the conditions. Wrap up warm if it’s cold – it’s always best to take more layers than you need, than not take enough. If in doubt, wear a lightweight running pack to carry extra clothing and items. Also consider the conditions underfoot, particularly if there is snow or thick ice on the ground. If in doubt, play it safe and exercise inside during weather extreme conditions, as a slip or fall could cause serious injury.
7. BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Take extra care when crossing busy roads and always stick to footpaths and walkways whenever possible. Be extra alert and aware when running on country lanes, as unlit roads make it more challenging for motorists to see you. If there are no pavements, always walk or run facing oncoming traffic so that you can both see each other more clearly. We advise you to run without headphones so that you are more aware of your surroundings and can hear everything going on around you
8. SHARE THE EXPERIENCE
Running alone in winter is often a frightening prospect. Dimly lit, lonely roads and trails can be scary places, especially for women. We suggest running with a friend or as part of a small group (within COVID restrictions), to help you feel safer and give you more motivation to train. Joining a club is also a great way to meet new people and discover new routes. You’ll probably be surprised by just how many amazing places there are to run in your local area.
9. SET YOURSELF A CHALLENGE
Winter is the hardest time for motivation, particularly when it’s cold, dark and wet outside. Set yourself a challenge or personal goal to help fire up your enthusiasm. This could include anything from a weekly or monthly mileage goal, trying to improve your fastest time on a local route or even trying to exercise every day for a set period of time.
For extra motivation, use Strava to access and join weekly and monthly challenges for distance, speed and climb. You can also join the Sportsshoes.com Strava Run Club to compare and discuss training, read interesting articles and take part in some fantastic competitions to win prizes.
Are you feeling inspired to lace up your running shoes and hit the road? Check out some of our favourite winter running shoes in this guide, or discover a range of running routes, advice and inspiration over on our Running Hub. Need to get kitted up? Our Running Store has everything you need including Running Shoes, Clothes and Equipment.