Winter running - help!

I've been succesfully running regular 5ks since October, approximately 3 times per week including a weekend Parkrun; however, last night I experienced my first aborted run.

The weather is currently quite cold and last night it was zero deg C with a heavy frost. I started as usual and within 1k my calfs started to feel very tight and my hips were also starting to hurt. It was quite clear that I was struggling, and decided to foreshorten my route and finish with a combination of light jogs and walking.

I was wearing a hat, gloves and a light jacket, I was also wearing my usual shorts, so I'm guessing (hoping) that the root cause of my failed run was due to inadequate clothing particularly my shorts leaving my legs exposed

I know there's no such thing as a wasted run, but any advise would be appreciated, will running tights help? Ive read that some people stop running outside during the winter, but running inside is not for me and I certainly don't want to stop running just because it's cold

Comments appreciated 👍


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9 Replies

  • Hi Simon

    Yes , Winter running brings a whole new set of challenges doesn't it ? Maybe you were tensing your body with the cold ?

    I would invest in some running tights . You can always wear your shorts over the top if you would feel more comfortable.

    I went out in long leggings, T shirt my thin running jacket and my hat tonight. I was absolutely freezing to start off with , then ended up sweating as per ! I nearly ended up taking my jacket off . The good news is is that its going to be pretty mild the next couple of days xxx

  • Yes, I think I was quite tense, I did start to feel a bit more warmed up and relaxed as I finished, but by then the damage had been done, I think clothing (tights) and a decent warm up are key. Thank you

  • I'm in the same boat :(

    It's not fun when your legs are icicles and your 'ahems' feel like they will soon be falling behind you any minute now...

    Tracksuit pants and sweatpants over them - except I have to wait until Chrismuss for the sweatpants since my children told me under pain of death I am NOT to get any running gear before then.

    Apparently I am a PITA to get presents for in former years and this Chrismuss there is a collective sigh of relief that I actually need something 'easy to find, not like that bloody 'Early Tibetan Serial Killers' book that you had us convinced actually existed'

    (Well - they kept annoying me about what I wanted for Chrismuss and would not accept that all I could think of was some Aftershave and a 'proper' clothes brush! :) )

  • Hi, I think we graduated about the same time and I have been having similar problems re the calf muscles though don't think it's the cold that was causing mine (I run in capris as I overheat so quickly). I ended up going for a sports massage this week to relieve the tight calves and it made a big difference though it wasn't pleasant at the time! If the tights don't sort it out, I would recommend the massage.

  • Shorts ? and bare legs ? Brrrr ! get some leggings/tights ! Or at least calf sleeves....

  • I've been running in running tights all autumn but over the last week when the weather has been well sub zero I add track suit trousers over the top because i couldn't keep my legs warm otherwise. It worked well for keeping my muscles warm enough.

  • Hi Simon, I wear Ron hill trackster origins. Very warm and snug and you don't look like Rudolph Nuryev! :-)

    I also swear by my Helly Hansen Lifa thermal base layer; dry, light and very warm. Was a bit pricey when I bought it years a go, but has lasted well and it's been great for running and walking.

    Maybe you got cold during the warm up (?) walk. Sometimes I can't wait to this finish if it's cold.

  • I have had this a few times now I've been running since July, i got new trainers which helped with my hips. I also go home and try go out the next day and every time I run much better and faster the next day than stopping and starting that day in pain.

  • I enjoy running in the cold, but always go out in full compression gear. I invested in Under Armour cold gear thermal tops & leggings - probably the best buys I've made, they get heavy use. I find I'm warm enough when I step out even in sub zero temps and never get too cold. I find a long sleeve compression top and a running jacket is enough layers for me and very lightweight, I originally bought compression gear as I felt it helped prevent the lactic acid build up and reduce cramp, but I wouldn't run without it these days

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