It might not feel like it, but winter is a great time to take your running up a notch. Ditching the doona for a frosty frolic in the cooler months is the best time to build your aerobic base and set an important foundation to improve speed and endurance when spring rolls around.
According to Ryan Mannix, yoga teacher and Running Coach for Run Melbourne presented by lululemon, running in winter can be rewarding.
In fact, as the body works harder to regulate its core temperature among the elements, you'll burn more calories compared to an indoor workout.
"When the temperature drops outside, it's easy to stay inside all day, every day. Whether running on a frosty morning, in drizzling rain or on a cool afternoon, wintertime provides some magical landscapes to run through. And, with fewer people training, you'll probably have the view all to yourself," says Mannix.
Habit not hibernate
If you want to bust out of hibernation Mannix says setting a routine can help to shed your winter coat.
"Nothing beats a routine. Plan which days and times you'll run, and make sure you're packed and ready to go," Mannix explains.
"Increase your accountability by finding a running buddy or joining a running group. Reward yourself by running somewhere different each week and having brunch afterwards with your training pals."
But rug up
He says running in winter can be enjoyable so long as you've wearing the right gear.
"Wearing appropriate running clothing will help you stay comfortable and dry in chilly conditions," says Mannix.
"Don't wear too many heavy layers as these can make you sweat and leave you chilled. Leggings, a lightweight long sleeve top, running gloves and a windproof jacket will protect you from the elements.
"Remember that once you start moving your body will warm up, so don't overdress.
You should be slightly cool when you set off for your run, and try to get out of sweaty gear and into a warm shower as soon as possible."
Dr. Tom Waller, Senior Vice President Innovation, WhitespaceTM, at lululemon has spent a lot of time thinking about and designing clothing that helps runners put their best foot forward in all conditions, especially winter.
Waller and his colleagues from the Whitespace innovation, research and development team have developed a unique lens to design and build garments through, called Engineered Sensation.
"We build certain garments to achieve a particular sensory profile for example 'Relaxed', 'Hugged' or 'Tight'.
"We refer to this approach under an umbrella of what we call the 'science of feel' where we combine physiology, biomechanics, neuroscience, behavioural psychology and material science to the engineering of products. This ensures a functionality that supports a specific sensory experience and enables performance potential," he says.
Through the science of feel, lululemon's Whitespace team explores the complex mind-body interaction surrounding performance.
Waller says, "generally, personal limits are not physical in nature and instead defined by the perception of the effort required."
"From our research, we know our mind can limit what our body is able to endure, particularly when effort seems too great. By developing running garments that positively impact the way we feel, eliminate discomfort, minimise distractions and shift stress responses we can enhance an athlete's unique performance potential."
"Clothing plays a critical role in how we interact with our environment and fit is a key part of this. Engineered Sensation includes an approach to fit, texture and touch to support your performance goals – whether they be crossing the finish line of Run Melbourne or another winter event," he says.
The goal of one day completing an ultra-marathon inspires running fanatic Laura Hill to clock up the kilometres each week. With a day job in the corporate world, Laura loves nothing more than lacing up her runners and hitting the pavement to clear her mind and challenge her body.
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