Winter Long Runs: Build a Solid Training Base


Winter Training

As the early season training starts to take shape locking in some good long runs is really important. Long runs don’t have to be fast because its simply about getting in some long and steady endurance as a solid foundation on which more training can be built on. In many ways winter long runs are like laying the foundations of a building, if you go straight into building the house with out the foundations things will go wrong. This can be similar for running, going to hard and fast too early can cause injuries.

Top Tips for Your Long Runs:

Run with Friends:

Find a friend or a group of friends to do the runs with. If you lack motivation lock in some accountability. If your going with friends then you have to do the run! Furthermore what better chance to catch up and talk rubbish, these runs are intended to be at a conversational pace.

Reward Yourself Post Run:

Finish up with lunch or breakfast afterwards. Again there is less chance you will bail out on the run if you are heading to a pub or restaurant for some food and drink afterwards.

Discover Some New Long Run Routes:

If you are going to run with friends then take turns to work out new and interesting routes for the day. My group of friends and i hunt out trail runs within a trains ride from London. Our most recent and favourite was Box Hill to Oxted running along the North Downs Way. Its a point to point run with a pub finish at the train station. A spot of food and drink to finish before we jump on the train home. Winter trail runs are great fun and there was plenty of variety on this run: hills, mud, ice and lots of woolly cows!

Try Some Off Road WinterTrails:

 Its now been proven that you are going to be reducing injury and strengthening your legs by mixing up the terrain you run on. So why not hunt out some trail runs. Here is the link to our latest one if you are based anywhere near London. Its a great mix of hills, off road, some technical stuff and lots of mud….. Great days!!!





Have Fun With It

Most important out of all of this is to enjoy your running. Long runs can be tough, hard to get up for and boring and so they are all to often omitted by folk who just don’t get round to implementing them. If you follow some of the steps above the chances are you’ll be heading out the door come rain or shine. If the opportunity of training doesn’t motivate you FOMO will!!



Long Weekends with Some Training Thrown in!

The Long Weekend….

With the off season well and truly under way i had the opportunity to take some time off and head off for a few long weekends. As it happens i had two back to back trips which involved popping over the North Sea to visit Stockholm for the weekend and heading up to the Lake District the following weekend. Both of these were r and r trips rather than training, however what better places to combine some culture, good food, beautiful scenery and a dash of great trail running to keep things ticking over.

Nat and Markus at the Abba Museum mid run.
Pootling along the river, it was currently about 1 degrees!












My girlfriend knew she was going out to Sweden to run a training course just north of Stockholm so we decided it would be a great opportunity to turn it into a long weekend in Stockholm and i flew in on the Friday. As luck would have it a good friend and fellow swimrunner Markus Rossel of the world famous “German Sparkle Party” was living out in Stockholm with work and generously offered to put us up for the weekend and show us around. Having only visited Sweden during the summer for swimruns in the past this was a great opportunity to see Stockholm in a different light.

The weekend involved a couple of runs around the city taking in some great tourist spots with the help of ‘Run with Me Stockholm‘ a great running group that is run by another friend i met through swimrun.

The gang out on the Trails, those plank bridges are like ice, soooo slippy!!
Can you guess which is which: Cardamon, cinnamon and saffron… Apparently they are made with ‘love and butter!!’








We also managed to fit in a 25k trail run on the Saturday in the Tyresta National Park. This offered stunning scenery, technical trails and plenty of fresh air! On top of the training we got to wonder the city, take in some sights, sample some really tasty food including the famous cardamon, cinnamon and even saffron rolls at the coffee shops! 

The weather during the trip was very crisp but aside from a little dusting of snow we didn’t have any rain! As a long weekend goes i could not recommend Stockholm highly enough. There are always cheep flights into Stockholm Arlanda and its a super simple bus into the city centre from there! The food is great, there are plenty of opportunities for shopping if that’s your bag and there are no end of attractions to visit including the Abba Museum!!

Some of the easier parts of the trail

The Lake District:

Believe it or not The Lake District was actually a longer journey than it was to Stockhom. We made the wrong choice and drove… It was a 7 hour door to door trip from London. With the benefit of hindsight i would say pay the extra cash and jump on the train as it haves the journey time and quarters the stress! Once up in the lakes we checked into a lovely B & B called Virginia Cottage in Bowness-on-Windemere and headed out for a good meal and pint of ale. On the Saturday we headed to a fell race which we had located by doing some research prior to the trip. There are always fell races to be found this time of year, so with a little research before hand you can find yourself a friendly local event! The best part of these are that they are super friendly, cheap as chips (usually £5) and offer free tea and cake afterwards…. Winning!! The Kirkby Moore 10k fell race did not disappoint!! With the greeting of hail seconds before the start gun the race was tough, cold, muddy, technical and hilly and as always with fell races very humbling. That being said there is nothing better than taking a step out of your comfort zone into some good old fashioned fell running running where you have to pack your map, compass, full length water proofs, wooly hat and be prepared for anything! Both of us were made to fell very welcome and had a great time while being left under no illusions that we truly are Southern Softies!!

£33 gets you your own boat for an hour!!

The rest of the day was spend warming up, eating, and even taking a boat trip out on Lake Windermere where i was ambushed by the local bird life when i started to feed the swans. The evening was spend tasting some local craft beers at the Baha Bar and replacing the days calorie deficit.

Sunday was a little more sedate, we popped out for an easy trail run over and around the fells finding a course online that we could follow, then finished up checking into a spa for a little pampering before jumping back into the car. Thankfully it was a much faster trip back into town. As trips away go the Lake District is never going to disappoint, the train is certainly the way to go and once you are up there taxi’s are fairly good value if you need to get anywhere.

All in all both locations off a perfect place to relax and unwind after a busy season of racing while still offering a fun environment to roll out some very unstructured training keeping the body ticking over in the off season.