WINTER RUNNING

The clocks have gone back, winter is closing in, and the days are getting shorter. It’s now getting dark much earlier than most of us would like. This never stops us runners from doing what we love, but we need to all keep safe during the winter months. In this post I’ve put together a few tips and ideas for keeping safe through the dark and cold evenings.

STAYING SEEN

This is so, so important. It is important whether you’re running off road or whether you are running in well-lit areas nearby roads. If you are wearing dark clothing (which I see runners do constantly in the dark) people cannot see you! It is not worth the risk, you may think you’re safe but you aren’t. You are not visible to people in cars and if you injure yourself people are unable to find you easily.

HEAD TORCHES: The brightest piece of equipment to make you seen. It also helps you to see where you are going to avoid trips and falls. I wear my headtorch even when I am running along well-lit streets as it makes me feel safer knowing that everyone can see me coming. The headtorch I own is from amazon, click here to have a look. It isn’t the cheapest you can get but it comes with a case to keep it in when not in use and it’s held it’s charge for around 2 months of everyday use, before it runs out. This one also charges by USB, so if you are going for a run lasting 4 hours+ you can charge it up by portable charger and not worry about trying to get batteries in. Wearing a head torch does take some getting used to with wearing it on your head but after a few runs I don’t even notice it. Another way if you don’t get along with the head torches is to buy a beanie hat which has a light fixed into the front which you can view here.

BODY LIGHTS: Another option if you don’t want to wear a head torch, are body lights. Again I have some off amazon, click here to view them. These lights go on top of your running clothing and flash bright white light at the front and then red lighting from the back, so you are seen from front and behind which it more than the head torches. Again these just ensure that you are seen by traffic and by other people if you are in need of help.

HIGH VISABILITY CLOTHING: This one is pretty simple and doesn’t have to cost you anything. The easy option is to wear as bright clothes as possible when running in the dark. I have been past so many runners who are still wearing dark clothes and I don’t see them until I run past them. It isn’t safe. Even when in a lit area you might feel like you can be seen but I’d never risk it. Just find the brightest sports gear you own and chuck it on! If you are willing to spend a few pounds you can easily buy a high visibility vest from Ebay or amazon. If you want to spend a little bit more most running retailers sell high visibility running jackets, leggings or accessories.

WARM WINTER CLOTHING

As well as being seen in the dark, the temperature has dropped so much in the past few weeks and will continue to drop. It is important to keep warm during our runs, as even though we will feel warm when we’re running, our body can still cool down without us realising it.

LAYERS: At the moment as November begins I’m starting to wear full length leggings with a long sleeve under top, and a high visibility light weight, waterproof jacket. As the winter goes on I will more than likely add to this with another layer on top of a long sleeved base layer and a thicker high vis jacket. I usually wear trainer socks but as it gets nearer the freezing temperatures long socks over my leggings are a must have!

ASSESSORIES: As it gets colder adding winter accessories is a great idea. So get your woolly hats and gloves out ready if you haven’t already! I tend to prefer non-woolly gloves when running as I feel the wool rubs my skin and makes my skin irritated with the sweat mixed in, but I’m pretty sure most other people aren’t as fussy!! Ear buffs are also good if you don’t like your head getting too warm but need to cover your ears!

ICE

I’m adding this one to the list as my running club have upped their game, and it really is important all year round not just in the winter. ICE stands for ‘In Case of Emergency’. This can be anything from making a note as a screen saver, or having a piece of paper in your pocket or sock. It is just a little note with your basic details and the details of your emergency contact. I myself have been in situation where I have fallen and people have come to help me and I haven’t had details on me. Luckily I’ve been conscious and able to contact them myself, but I’ve been lucky!

I hope this post has been helpful, the main point of it all is just to make sure you all keep safe over winter. All of us runners need to keep each other safe and pass on any tips you come across! Any questions feel free to comment below or contact me directly!

Happy Winter Running!

CARDIFF 10K: A Review

A little bit about the race….

The Cardiff 10K is a running event organised by the Kidney Wales charity who support patients and families who are living with renal conditions, and promote excellence in renal research.

The 10K course is a flat all road and tarmac route, which goes through the main city centre passing Cardiff Castle and the Principality Stadium (The Millennium Stadium to us true South Walians). It then passes through two beautiful parks: Llandaff Fields and Pontcanna Fields, with a finish passing Cardiff Castle.

This race is suited to all abilities whether you are aiming for a 10K personal best or doing you’re first ever 10K and just want to survive the run! As said above it’s a flat on road course so an easy one for beginners and a quick route for more advanced runners.

The end goodies were a lovely 10K T-shirt, which is actually one of my favourite race shirts I have ever had from the race. Alongside this I got a nice shiny medal, a packet of crisps and a bottle of water. I used to find many races used to give a goodie bag with loads of different goodies/leaflets, but I used to end up throwing half the stuff away. It’s actually nice to get less, more useful items with less waste!

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My experience…

My own experience of the Cardiff 10K was an extremely positive one. I arrived at the race village two hours early to get my morning coffee down me, and to have a look around the stalls for some bargains. I then found some members of my running club for a few photos and a natter before heading over to the start line. I was at the start line around 10 minutes early, which is always the killer waiting for it to start. I always need a wee and get hungry when waiting for a race to start!

The first half of the race was great I was running at an 8 minute/mile pace for the first 2.5 miles. Coming up to the half way water station I knew I couldn’t keep up the pace, so slowed it down to 8.5minute/mile pace and walked for a minute when I got the water in my hand (I have no idea how people can run and drink water at the same time?!). The last 3 miles I felt comfortable in a steady pace, nothing too quick as I knew I wasn’t getting a 10K personal best. I did my usual stop for a walk with 0.5 miles to go. I have no idea why I do it but I do it in every race, it’s as if I need to get a walk in every time whether I’m tired or not.

Regardless of the walk, I managed to get a personal best for the Cardiff 10K with a time of 53:32, which I couldn’t be more happy with. Maybe next year I can at least level my 10K personal best. At the finish we were given our goodies and then the long wait at the bag drop! The worst part of any large race, having to queue for half an hour+ for my bag! It’s no fault of the organisers as there isn’t really a way around it. However, at the end of a race you just want to grab your bags and get to the grub! My advice is if you can manage without taking a bag or have supporters then don’t bother leaving anything in a bag drop.

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Highlights: The atmosphere on the streets of Cardiff City Centre. That’s one thing you can’t experience with many ultra-marathons! Can’t beat the crowds cheering everyone on.

Lowlights: My usual 0.5 mile towards the end walk. Not really race associated but more personal, I need to learn how to keep it going at the point!

Cardiff 10K 2020 places are now open if you do fancy giving this one a go!

LLANTWIT MAJOR 10K – A REVIEW

Little bit about the race….

The Llantwit Major 5K & 10K is a mainly off road run along the Welsh Coastal Path. The race was created in 2015 to honour the memory of David Synan from Llantwit Major, who had a big passion for running. The course is a trail run along the welsh coastal path with a few different trail terrains (grass, rocky, muddy), with the final 1.5 mile being on the road through llantwit major, for those who like people cheering you on during a race! There are two big hills involved, one steep short hill at the beginning of the race and one around 2 miles in which a longer less steep incline. Both the 5K and 10K started together so the atmosphere was brilliant. I will say however, if you are running this race for a personal best, start right at the front and try and run the road to the coast at a faster pace. This is to avoid being stuck behind someone slower on the cliffs, as a lot of it was single file running.

Bonus; At the end everyone got a medal, a llantwit 10K buff and a free session at llantwit major leisure centre. I was quite happy not to get a tech t-shirt for once (I have so many from over the years!), it was nice to have something different for my running stash.

I would say this race is for eveyone from the skilled trail runner, to the first timer to trail running! Remember there is also a 5K option for those not quite ready to tackle a 10K off road race just yet.

My Experience…

For me it did not go great. The first 5K I was on track for a personal best on the course. However during the last 5k the sun hit me hard. It was an extremely hot day and I had not hydrated during the days leading up to the race. I felt dizzy and sick, which meant I found it hard to keep running, so i lot of walking done during the last stage. I ended up running across the line in tears, feeling like I was going to throw up and extremely dizzy. I sat at the end of the course for a while trying to get myself back to normal. I finished 3 minutes slower than last year which was gutting but at the same time I could not have pushed harder.

Highlight: The views of the coast from the run were beautiful, especially on such a sunny day. Being able to run in my home town is also a plus as there isn’t many shorter distance races that are ran through Llantwit Major.

Lowlight: The heatstroke. I have never felt so ill during and after a run. It was my own fault for not preparing better for the day but it did take the pleasure out of the run.