Running tips: Beware of icy surfaces and embrace layers

Steph Callen, from Diss and District Athletics Club. Picture: STEPH CALLEN

Steph Callen, from Diss and District Athletics Club. Picture: STEPH CALLEN - Credit: Archant

I love a bright and frosty morning in the countryside. But all these icy surfaces underfoot can make for challenging running conditions and extra care is needed to avoid accident and injuries – the last thing you want.

With spring races just around the corner, you don't want to let the bracing weather dismantle your training plans so here's a few simple things you can do to help yourself stay safe and enjoy running in winter.

Firstly, think layers. Running in the cold can be tricky because you need to be prepared for the initial chilly temperatures you feel when you first leave your door, but also the warmth you'll feel later as you progress with your run.

Thin layers, like a long-sleeved top, light fleece and a running jacket, which you can take off as you clock down the miles are the answer.

Also, think about wearing a hat and gloves which you can later stuff into your pockets or plan your route so you can circle back to your house or car to drop them off. Your body temperature will fall quickly once you've finished your run, so if you're far from home, don't hang around. Having a change of shoes, clothes and a towel in your boot in case of rain or sleet is always worth it.

With dark mornings and evenings, make sure that whatever you wear is bright.

Make yourself as visible as possible by wearing clothes with reflective strips or use lights and head torches.

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Keeping to well-lit areas will not only help other road users spot you, but you'll also be able to better see any upcoming patches of ice on the pavements. On frosty days, be prepared to throw your planned pace out of the window, cut down your mileage and walk in areas where you're not confident of your grip on the road. It beats slipping and injuring yourself, plus you'll be giving lots of muscles a workout by just trying to stay upright.

I wish all runners, old and new, a very successful 2018. Happy New Year!

Steph Callen is a member of Diss and District Athletics Club