The early cold snap across the UK has disrupted working life, education and social activities, and for many it has meant running shoes going into temporary storage. But as the bad weather continues, and the prospect of a long cold winter looms, runners are starting to think of ways to beat the freeze.
In very cold weather, when snow falls and icy pavements put usual routes off limits, it's time for runners to use their ingenuity and keep on track.
An easy option (that's if you can get there, of course) is the gym and treadmill; many runners are members of gyms while others have access to local sports centres so heading indoors for training runs in comfortable surroundings is very tempting.
Staying on the indoor theme there are a number of undercover tracks around Scotland and it may be possible to arrange a session at one of these, indoor tracks obviously lend themselves to speedwork and timed repetitions so there's a chance to give all that winter cloud a silver lining by introducing variation into your training programme.
For those who cannot resist the lure of the outdoors there are a number of options:
The local park - it maybe snow-bound but two or three times round a bigger park will give you a good workout;
Golf courses - one of my mainstays last year during bad weather over Christmas and New Year. The light is surprisingly good but be careful around greens as there can be obstacles. Also golf courses are lonely places on winter evenings so best to run with friends or in a larger group. If you're worried about it being dark - wear a headlamp!
Beaches - snow covered beaches provide another alternative. Liz Yelling is a top performer and just a few days ago completed a 10 mile fartlek on the beach. "The safest place with 4 inches of snow on the ground."
Top tips for running safely:
The correct footwear - trail shoes from Inov8, Salomon or one the main brands will make a huge difference. I've been enjoying wearing my nicely cushioned and superbly gripping Inov8's Roclite 319s over the last 10 days.
Clothing - layers are the key and an extra one could be a boon on really cold days. Also make sure you've got something warm (a heavier jacket or fleece) to put on or change into after your run when you will cool down quickly.
Stretching - don't sacrifice your post-run stretch. You might have to curtail it a little but aim to do at least a minimum stretch.
Take Your Mobile - have your mobile phone, plus some cash in case of an emergency.
It would be great to hear other runners tips - please let us know your ideas for keeping on the move!