The long-range weather forecast for the UK predicts lots of wet and windy weather for the rest of January. There might even be some drier and frosty spells in February. But will those in the south of the country receive any snow? Doesn’t sound like it.
The average temperature in the UK between the months of December to February, which is known as the meteorological winter, is around 6C to 8C. At the moment it’s more above 8C than below.
So for those of you out running it’s been unseasonably pleasant temperatures and it looks like it’s going to stay that way. But, if you are out running early in the morning or late in the evening on the roads it’s not necessarily that warm so you need to go out prepared.
Here are a few of my own tips for running gear during this period if you are out running a session that is anything longer than say 90 minutes or so. Obviously, if you are on trail and its dark t’s a different kettle of fish!
- Rain Jacket. A lightweight but warm rain jacket. Something that is not too bulky and can be packed away if you get too warm but will be required when the rain or wind picks up and you need that little bit of extra protection.
- Leggings. All over leg protection and warmth. If you are out running early in the morning or late in the evening even though the average temperatures are higher the temperatures at either end of the day drop considerably and it’s so easy to pull muscles when you are colder!
- Hydration. If you are out for anything longer than 60 or 90 minutes consider taking some hydration. Either a handheld or backpack hydration system. Or if you are doing a loop course, stow a bottle away that you can easily retrieve halfway.
- Hat. You lose a great deal of body heat through the head. That said, when you are running you need to be able to regulate your heat as your body overheats through intensity or as the weather changes. Does your rain jacket have a hood? Sometimes that will be good enough but it’s also nice to have the option of a lightweight skullcap in the side of your pack or in a waist belt or pocket.
- Head torch. If you are running off road on trails and in the dark then no doubt you already have a head torch with you. If not, why not! But, do you need one running on road at night. I say yes. A small lightweight one like the Petzl eLite is always useful. It weighs practically nothing but if your route takes you through unlit streets it may help you avoid tripping on a fallen branch or in a pothole. See the next tip.
- Bright Reflective Gear. I see it a lot but there are loads of runners out there at night in black. Now, they might have some little reflective pieces on their gear but how quickly will a car driver notice you, especially against oncoming headlights. Give yourself the best chance of not being the next road victim, wear some bright reflective gear, either one of those luminous arm bands, a head torch, or a hi-vis shirt or jacket.
- Emergency Money. Carry enough money or cards to be able to get you home in the event that you get lost or injured.
- Phone. Obvious, but if you are lost or injured a phone can help you out of a lot of awkward situations. Use the map or compass for directions or just phone home to be picked up while you wait in a pub with a beer (paid for with your emergency money)!
Most of this gear can be packed away in a waist belt or a lightweight backpack. If you are out for 60 or 90 minutes and you get lost or have to stop due to injury your body temperature will drop quickly and anything you can do to keep warm will help to make your journey back home a much safer and more enjoyable experience. Be safe and enjoy the wonderful world outside!