Depending on whether you're a "half empty" or a "half full" person, running in the English winter might fill you with dread or seem a pleasant experience. As it's January, there's little escaping the cold temperatures and short daylight, so here's a few thoughts:
It can be a beautiful time of year
Now I'm the first to admit this could be a matter of taste but in my mind the English countryside has a real beauty to it in the winter. Often everything is quiet and still. You glide extra quietly so as not to disturb nature as it rests over the winter months.
I sometimes have the privilege of running so early in the morning I know I'm the first person to go a long a path or a trail. There are cobwebs, woven by spiders overnight, frosts with no other footprints but mine - I love it!
Wearing the right clothes
This can be a difficult choice. Sometimes I have got up in the morning, looked out of the window and decided what to wear. I often get this wrong and the weather turns out to be colder, warmer, more windy than I expected (the joys of English weather).
If the temperature is around freezing or down to minus 5, I will wear a pair of Tracksters, a woolly hat and gloves. Even so there might be a wide variation in how you feel on a run in these conditions. Plodding up a hill produces plenty of heat and perspiration which can then make you feel chilled once you're at the top of the hill in more windy, exposed conditions. Sometimes there's not much you can do about this apart from taking a different route or putting up with it. Either way I think gloves and a hat are very important.
I blogged recently about taking a mobile phone just in case you suffer an injury and need some assistant. Worth bearing in mind iPhones can have a useful app called "Find iPhone" so you can locate someone with another iPhone or iPad, using the GPS ability. Pretty cool, eh?
Goes without saying the ground can be slippery under foot and if snowy, why not think about some of those clip-on grip gadgets (click here).
This photo (not very good, I know) was taken after a period of heavy rain. The rain has washed away so much soil and leaf mould giving a totally different surface to run on. Whilst not a problem here, more extreme conditions do exist and can be very hazardous - landslides, bogs, soft mud etc.
Winter can be a fantastic time to be a runner but do take a few precuations to avoid some problems.
Above all, don't let the cold, wet, gloomy conditions spoil your fitness. It took me quite a time to go from zero to marathon distance and it's important to keep a certain level of base fitness. Besides, it is easy for any of us to feel a bit glum in the winter - running gets you out into the (limited) daylight and lifts your mood through all those endorphins.