Too cold to run?

At this time of year it is sometimes very hard to get motivated to go out for a run. It’s cold, it’s dark, it might be raining or even snowing! It is too tempting to stay indoors, have a nice cup of tea (and maybe a slice of cake..) and keep warm. The temperatures this week in London have been hovering around freezing, or just below, most of the week. Now I know that is not cold compared to North America which has had record breaking low temperatures this week. But still it is enough to make some people think twice about going out for a run. I have done my usual 3 runs this week in very cold weather (not actually snowing though, which can be a bit slippery I have found). They were all fine, although it was hard to find the motivation on Tuesday at 6.30 am. In fact I cannot think of a single run that I regretted, whatever the weather. Once you get out there wearing suitable clothing it is always a good experience. Especially once you get back!

Marble Hill House

This morning I drove to Kew Green, parked the car and ran along the Thames path to Eel Pie Island, and then back again. It was -3°C when I set off, and about freezing when I finished. But what a beautiful day! Running through Richmond I spied my friend Tim setting out on a row with his team at the Cornish Pilot Gig Club. In fact there were lots of people out on the water this morning. And plenty of runners, walkers and cyclists (and dogs) too, enjoying the fresh air and winter sunshine.

Twickenham Bridge

I always like running under Twickenham Bridge. This stylish bridge built in 1933 was designed by architect Maxwell Ayrton, who was my great grandfather. The reinforced concrete bridge was the first large bridge to have hinges that adjust to temperature change. This technical innovation is highlighted in the design. Art Deco style bronze cover plates are used over the expansion joints. When it was first proposed there was strong local opposition, and it was known as ‘The Bridge Nobody Wants’. Well, it is now Grade 2 listed!

This was going to be a post all about running in cold weather – the benefits and risks. I have got sidetracked by my beautiful run this morning. However, when doing some early research this week into cold weather running I did find some great websites on the topic. I particularly like Number 6 on this one. The amount of running gear I have is slightly embarrassing, especially when I seem to end up wearing the same couple of tops every time I go out! And this article has some great advice about what to wear for a cold run – first dress as if it is 20°C warmer than actually is. Then make sure your extremities are warm as they are the first to get cold as your body always warms up the core (and your vital organs) first. Personally I think 20°C is quite high – I would think 10°C is plenty. Today I saw people in all sorts – shorts and short sleeves to full length tights and shorts, and layers of tops. Finally the good old NHS health website has some great tips for safe and comfortable running in winter.

Hope you all have a great week, and fingers crossed the weather warms up as the days begin to get noticeably longer now.

Southall Park in the snow this week

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