Mojo Running & Fitness: Motivating Running Club Members in the Winter
January 19th 2018
Winter running can be tough; it’s cold, wet and it can be hard the motivation to get out and train. At The Charity Clothing Company, we work with a lot of running clubs, and who better to ask for advice on plowing through winter training.
We recently reached out to Joanne Kingston, founder of Mojo Running & Fitness, a small friendly women’s running group in Sevenoaks. Here are her tips for motivating yourself and others during the winter season.
How do you motivate your members?
Weekly motivational e-mails. Themed runs and fun speed work, with the emphasis on the benefits of these sessions and how great they'll feel when they've done it. We know how it can feel to go out when it's freezing cold and you're nice and warm at home, but we also know how good you feel afterwards, so we put all this in our e-mails. We do post pub runs every 4-6 weeks in the evenings, where we all get together after the run for a quick chat and a drink after the run and an occasional bite to eat.
What special clothes or shoes do you find helps with winter running?
Layers are the key, a buff for the face, especially for those who suffer with asthma to keep the cold wind out, gloves, short sleeve, followed by long sleeved, followed by jacket to keep out the wind, especially on the longer runs when your temperature can fluctuate on different parts of the run. Trail shoes when it's icy as we leave the paths and stick to trail.
Also, we put on a few fun muddy runs to embrace the conditions. Always lovely warm clothes for after the run, we call them 'ugly snugly clothes' a warm fleece, warm trousers, a warm pair of socks and boots and we try to find the time to go for a coffee afterwards. We adapt our routes according to the conditions. In the evenings, we do not run when it is icy because we can't go off road and we can't see the ice, but that's the only time we don't run.
What additional safety measures do you recommend taking in the winter?
a) To be seen
Bright reflective clothing
b) To avoid injury
Mobilisation all year round and a thorough warm-up. Trail shoes for off-road, no road running in icy conditions, especially with the black ice. We take a thermal blanket in our first aid kit in the coaches rucksack as well as water, something sweet, a phone, some money - especially on the longer runs. We have a lead and middle/back coach. We shout out if there are any hazards on our trail routes and if there are cars on our road runs. We check out the area before the run and get to know our routes well. We also give a safety talk to the girls whilst mobilising them (i.e. if there's a car everyone over to the right, so that we don't end up all over the place)
c) To feel safe running in the dark
Bright clothes, hi-viz, extra bright torches - encouraging head torches and body torches - both front and back. We always have extra torches and hi-viz vests with us in case anyone forgets them.
What is great about running in winter?
Once you're warmed up, it's a great temperature to run in. The changing of the seasons can be beautiful. You feel amazing afterwards by running in the elements and you rarely overheat. Running in general can be beneficial for mental as well as physical health, but for those that suffer with their mental health in the darker winter runs it can really boost you.
Any extra benefits?
You burn more calories. You rarely overheat. The scenery can be stunning
Joys & Pleasures?
The changing of the seasons, the beauty of a frosty morning. The festivities near Christmas - Christmas light runs are great runs. The company of other like-minded people, the banter and the feeling that you've really achieved something by getting out there in the cold and tackled the elements.
Do you have any suggestions for alternative indoor workouts on days where you really can’t motivate yourself to go for a run?
Strength and conditioning and core work. Even if you can't get to a gym, there are so many exercises you can do to strengthen your glutes and core at home, balance work, even getting up and down from a chair standing on one leg. There are so many things you can do to strengthen those muscles to benefit your running.
Are there any specific races that you get involved in over the winter to keep in top condition?
We always go to the Great South Run in October. We do the Winter 10k run in February, we train for Spring half marathons and marathons, starting in January. We also take part in fun Christmas 5k runs, usually for charity and especially those that involve dressing up as Santas or Penguins. We also put on our own free kids and parents run near Christmas to get the family out. We do runs on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
As you embark on winter training, we’re here to help you stay warm with branded winter running gear. From branded fleeces and long-sleeves to hats and water bottles, get in touch with us to equip your running club with gear that will keep them motivated throughout the winter!