Running is a great form of cardiovascular fitness but it can often cause a lot of pain, discomfort and injuries if you don’t look after your body properly, especially in the colder weather.
Whether you are a regular marathon runner or a running novice, try these 7 top tips to help prevent injuries and keep smiling, mile after mile.
1. Stay snug in silver
“During the winter months our extremities, such as our feet tend to suffer the most from the cold. It’s really important to keep your feet well insulated during this time. Unfortunately woolly socks may keep our feet warm, but they tend to make our feet sweat more.
“For toasty, fresh feet I would recommend Carnation Footcare’s Silversocks (www.firstaidfast.co.uk, £12). Silversocks are made with pure silver threads. These unique fibres act as a natural heat thermostat, regulating foot temperature and helping to keep toes toasty when the temperature drops. The silver will not wash out or lose its thermal and antibacterial properties over time, so will keep your feet warm from winter to winter,” explains Carnation Footcare Podiatrist, Michael Ratcliffe.
2. Layer up
Dress in comfortable layers, which you can take off once you start to put your legs through their paces. “Loose layers trap body heat and help to warm up your joints. Be careful not to overdress though, as once you warm up if you have too many layers on, you can become overheated,” suggests Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com the online shopping destination for health & wellbeing
3. Soothe your skin
Biting wind and low temperatures can really affect your skin. Massage your body with natural ingredients (calming plant extracts) and essential oils that can soothe any irritation, reduce redness and deal with flaky patches. Instead of light lotions reach for balms that will leave skin feeling supple and nourished for hours. Try What Skin Needs Skin Balm (whatskinneeds.co.uk, £13.99), packed with Aloe Vera and Plantolin to protect, heal and soothe.
4. Slow and steady wins the race
“In the winter months, make sure to take a longer warm-up than you normally do during the warmer months. This will help your muscles ease into your run and help to prevent injuries, such as tears and pulls,” advises Shona.
5. Embrace good foot hygiene
It’s crucial to keep feet clean and dry to avoid conditions such as athlete’s foot, which can lead to sore, itchy and flaky skin on your feet. If not treated the complaint can spread to other areas of your foot and toenails.
“Wash your feet daily with a mild soap (and particularly after each run) drying gently and carefully, especially between the toes. Apply an emollient foot cream that contains the humectant urea, such as Carnation’s Intensive Moisturising Foot Cream (firstiadfast.co.uk, £3.45), to lock in the skin’s natural moisture, especially in cold weather. Try not use scalding hot water when washing, as this can damage the lipid layer on your skin leading to further drying – use warm water even if your feet are very cold,” advises Michael.
6. Time it right
“If you suffer with stiff joints then this is usually at its worst when you first wake up. This can make an early morning workout, especially in the cold, painful and increase the chances of injury. Try to exercise later on in the day, when your joints have loosened up. I’d also suggest taking AgeLoss Joint Support by Natures Plus (revital.co.uk, £41.75).
Packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, it promotes the essential nutrients needed for collagen formation and supports healthy joint cartilage, as well as formation of connective tissue,” explains Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.
7. Stop the stink
Try to remove your running shoes as soon as possible, to help air them out. Then place Carnation Footcare’s brand new Shoe Deodoriser Pouches (£6.99, firstaidfast.co.uk and Independent Pharmacies) into your trainers. These pouches use natural moso bamboo charcoal, an excellent absorber of moisture, to help neutralise the smell to keep your running shoes fresh, even after a cold and wet winter run.