7 steps to get you running this winter

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Are you struggling to get motivated for exercise this winter? We feel your pain, however, it's important to get your 30 minutes of exercise each day to keep your heart happy.

We highly recommend running as a no-fuss, low-cost way to exercise and a great way to raise your core temperature this winter! Running is fantastic for your cardiovascular health in many ways; it can help you to control a number of heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight. 

A run can also be meditative, helping to clear your head and blow out the cobwebs. Other than some decent running shoes, it’s entirely free and you can pretty much do it anywhere, anytime (winter won’t last forever). 

This week we went for a rainy run in the park with Happy Heart, who also struggles on these cold winter days! If you're new to running and not quite sure how to take those first few steps, or simply trying to get yourself out of a winter running rut - we have a few tips to help get you moving in the right direction. 

With these tips, you could even be ready to run a marathon in October - but not the usual kind. MyMarathon is a marathon with a difference where you can run, walk, jog or a marathon in a way that’s a challenge for you. Clock up the kilometres over a few days, a couple of weeks or throughout the whole month. Whether it’s at the park, in the gym, or on the streets with friends.  

1. Warm up before every run 

When you're ready to run, it's really important (particularly on cold winter days) to loosen up. Why not try star jumps like our friend Happy here? Then gradually move to a walk or a slow jog for five minutes before finding a comfortable running pace. 

2. Run at the right pace for you 

Start off at a pace that’s right for you, then build up the distance you run gradually over time. If you don’t know what your 'right pace' is, you'll need to experiment. Start off slow to begin with and pay attention to your heart rate and breathing to make sure you're not overexerting yourself. If you're new to running or cardiovascular exercise, alternate between both running and walking, taking short 'walking breaks' if you feel like you need them.    

3. Eat well and drink plenty of water 

When you run, make sure you take in the fuel your body needs to perform. Up to 60% of the human body is made up of water*, you must replace it as you run and (naturally) sweat. Drinking water before, during and after exercise helps keep you hydrated, improving your performance and recovery time. Also eating the right mix of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats will fuel you before you run and help you to recover when you finish.

4. Run with a friend  

Consider running with a buddy like our friend Happy Heart. Having a friend to run with increases your sense of accountability and the kilometres will fly by as you chat. It's also safer than running on your own.
Given that it's winter, you'll probably have to run in the dark at some point. Taking a friend along with you will not only keep motivated, it's a good way to stay safe. Meaning there are no excuses to not get out there!

5. Stretch after every run  

After a run, resist the urge to rush back to the business of daily life without a proper 'cool down'. Walk for a few minutes when you finish your run and remember to stretch your whole body. Make sure to include your glutes, calves and hamstrings. 

6. Don’t skip rest days  

There’s no shame in having rest days, in fact, they are essential to good training. Being well-rested will not only improve your performance but will give your joints and muscles the time they need to recover so you’ll go out stronger on your next run. 

7. Use an activity tracker  

You don’t need any special gear or equipment to run, but an activity tracker app can help you to track your running progress over time and as well as help you to set personal goals or targets. Download the Qantas Assure App and you could earn Qantas Points for your daily walks just by tracking your activity. It’s also a great way to see how well you’re progressing.

And remember...

It’s not always going to be 'love at first run'! Some runs you won’t enjoy and that’s totally normal. Being comfortable with a bad run is just as important as the joy of a great one.  Also remember that while running is great for your health, it's best to check with your doctor before starting out if you have a heart condition.

Now that we’ve got you all inspired, why not give MyMarathon a go? This is your chance to tick a marathon off your bucket list.

Find out more.

You can also check out our events page for community fun runs in your area.


* The USGS Water Science School