The Beauty and Dangers of Winter Running

Running when the air is cold and crisp in winter is one of the most beautiful times to be out running. The fresh clean air inspires you to feel as if you can run that extra mile, till you reach that extra mile of course. Your body is cool, your nose is frozen and your legs are numb. All symptoms of winter running, but as the weather gets cooler the danger of ice can be a real problem.

snow winter walk

Most of the time you can handle the odd slip here and there but as the winters get colder (as they seem to be doing) it can often seem more of challenge to beat the ice rather than beating your last pace. That’s why last winter I bought some Spikes, or mini crampons as they are also known. Developed from the idea of crampons which are used when mountaineering, Spikes are for the general hiker who needs to handle some ice or snow in winter.

running snowCosting around £50 I was a bit sceptical about how this little device could handle my running however after walking the dog and conducting a little test running I was really surprised. Not only did the Spikes really grip into the ice, it seemed to crush the ice beneath my feet. They really gave me the confidence to hit my top pace when faced with ice and now I have the freedom to run all year. The pair I got are made from elastomer, so you really get a sense of free flexibility in your feet but at the same time feel in complete control.

I would really recommend picking up a pair of Spikes this winter and giving yourself the confidence to reach that extra mile. I even got a pair for my Dad who often finds it hard to get out the house when the pavements are icy. A real freedom giving piece of gear.

Author – Scott Taylor: Scott Taylor is a young blogger who likes to write about anything involving the outdoors. You can connect with Scott on twitter @Scottthegreat1

Free Ways to Start Exercising

All too many people think that in order to exercise properly they need to take out a subscription to an expensive gym, not so, there are plenty of ways that you can exercise for free and get the same results. If you are still not convinced then below are just a few of things that you can do to exercise for free.



If you are sat in an office or at home in front of a computer then go for a walk at lunchtime. Get out into the country and take in the scenery when you walk at weekends. If you walk just two or three miles an hour it will increase your flexibility, help you to lose weight and make you feel generally better about life.


Many people make time in their busy schedule to go for a jog in the morning before work. You can jog almost anywhere you like, through your local streets, in the park, even round your garden and it won’t cost you a bean. Jogging is physically good for you, it exercises your hear and lungs as well as your legs and helps to raise your general energy levels. If you feel that jogging on your own takes too much discipline then why sign up for a 5k run.Signing up for a sponsored run means that you will meet up with other people and can arrange to train together and get in shape before the event.

Run for Charity

A lot of people these days take part in charity runs, signing up for one of these will not only provide you with free exercise, you’ll be doing something to help your community. Most people who have taken part in these events and got used to running regularly in preparation, carry on running once the event is over. Runners feel better and often make friends that they can run with on a regular basis. Running is good for the mind and the body as it helps to relieve stress and anxiety.

Do Some Gardening

Whether you have a garden or space in an allotment, gardening is a great way to exercise. Bending down to pull out weeds and put in plants can make you more flexible and help you to lose weight. Gardening is great exercise and you can see the results of your work quite quickly, good for you and for the look of your outside space.

Do Some Pushups

Most people don’t really fancy the idea of doing pushups, but it is a great and cheap way to exercise virtually every part of the body, why else would the army include it in their physical training programmes? Make it easier by doing pushups on your knees rather than with your legs straight out behind you.


You don’t have to go to a ballroom or night club to dance, just put on some music and dance round the living room. You can dance on your own or with a partner, dancing is fun and as well as being physically beneficial it generally makes people feel better about life.

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of The Poppy Run, organises of charity runs. To find out more about The Poppy Run and their charity runs, visit their site by clicking here.

The Poppy Run

Citations: Image by DVIDSHUB

Half Marathon Training Tips

Training for a half marathon involved much more than just jogging a few times a week. Unlike a 5 or 10km race, a half marathon is not something that most people could hope to complete without a certain amount of planning, conditioning and fitness prior to race day.

The following tips and pointers aim to keep your half marathon training on track and give you a few things to think about as you start your running.

Marathon Runner

Follow a Tailored Training Program

13 miles is a long way to run and chances are you wont be casually running 13 mile training runs when you start your half marathon training! It is important that you start with shorter distance sessions and then build up to 13miles over a period of at least a month or two as otherwise you can run the risk of injury.

There are plenty of training schedules available for free of the internet. Websites such as Runners World and The Running Bug have a number of excellent programs that can be tailored to your schedule no matter what your current fitness level, running experience or working pattern

Invest in a Specialist Pair of Running Shoes

This sounds like an obvious point but many runners fail to follow one of the basic rules of Running. Look after your feet and they will look after you.

Go to a specialist running shops and have something called ‘gait analysis’ done on your running style. This will usually involve you running on a treadmill whilst a member of staff looks on and identifies what shoes will be the best for you. Shoes are available in many forms so the member of staff will be able to talk you through your options and help you pick your perfect pair

Also, something that is worth remembering is that shoes do wear out. Aim to replace your shoes at least once every half a year as otherwise their structural integrity can fail, cushioning can wear down and your chances of picking up and injury can increase!

Join a Running Club or Society

Committing to a running schedule is hard work. Sometimes you really wont want to don your shoes and go for a 6pm training run in the pouring rain, but sometimes these things have to be done!

By joining a running club, society or at least training with a few friends will make running seem less of a chore and there is nothing like the thought of letting a friend down that motivates you to get outdoors more!

For more tips and tricks on how you can get the best out of your running, see the half marathon training plans available at or consult a website such as RunnersWorld or TheRunningBug for a full selection of running resources aimed at all levels and experiences of athletes. For reviews on all things running such as the Polar RCX3 Review check out the same blog.

This half marathon training article was written by Ross from the running blog Run The Line

Citations: Image by through my eyes only

7 Great Tips to Improve Your Conditioning on a Treadmill

The treadmill is a very simple exercise device which delivers incredible benefits to those wishing to get into great shape. Through having access to a treadmill, you can walk, jog, or run not matter what time of the day it is, no matter what the weather is like outside, and all throughout the year.

Effort is the Key

While the treadmill will always remain a very simple piece of exercise equipment in concept, you do need to put a bit of effort into getting the most out of your sessions on one. A few insightful tips can take you a great way as far as improving your treadmill conditioning workouts are concerned.

Once you have improved your conditioning, you will discover many other excellent improvements in your health. And remember, “The first wealth is health.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Treadmill Workout

Tips to Increase Treadmill Workout Results

  • Try to avoid running on the treadmill cold. A little “pre-treadmill cardio” can prove to be quite helpful. If you are in the gym, you may wish to warm up for ten minutes on a stationary bike or an elliptical trainer for ten minutes. At home, ten minutes of jumping rope might be a wise idea.
  • You should have the proper amount of calories in your system when you hit the treadmill. Running on an empty stomach is a help if you wish to target stored fat. However, if you are trying to increase your cardio, endurance, and conditioning, you will need some carbs and protein in your system in order to support your workout session.
  • Drinking a carbohydrate based fuel supplement might be a wise idea if your conditioning routine is intended to be a very strenuous one. (Your goal with such a session would be for the purpose of greatly boosting endurance) Drinking a pre-workout drink 20 minutes prior to your session on the treadmill can help ensure you do not become tired or worn out and you will also discover you get quite the lift during the treadmill sessions thanks to the added glycogen in the muscles.
  • Altering the workout is a must if you want to be sure it always remains productive. Many Horizon treadmill reviews point this out. This does not mean you always have to come up with a completely new exercise or running program each and every time you step on the treadmill, but you don’t want to stick with the same routine time and time again. Your body will get used to it and future improvements will slow down.
  • Performing “incline intervals” can be a novel way to get the most out of your workout sessions on the treadmill. How does it work? You start by running on the treadmill when it is supine (flat) and then changing the incline to make it steeper. Increase the angle three times with each angle being run on for 30 seconds. This will be followed by descending the steepness of the incline until it becomes supine once again. Each descending incline is to be run on for 30 seconds. This might sound easy on the surface but it definitely will help improve your conditioning immensely.
  • Weaving strength training in with your treadmill workouts can prove to be a really great idea. Among the most obvious benefits would be you would increase your lean muscle mass which would definitely lead to the development of an excellent physique.
  • Physical aesthetics are not the only benefits to be gained from performing strength training workouts in conjunction with your treadmill sessions. Strength training can have a very positive impact on muscular endurance. The greater your muscular endurance is then the longer your sessions can be since you will not suffer the muscle fatigue cutting your treadmill workouts short.

Simple Yet Effective

“The reason I exercise is for the quality of life I enjoy.” Kenneth H. Cooper. Those are words to live by when you are weighing your options to start working out on a treadmill.

A treadmill workout is rather simple on most levels. However, such a simple device also opens the door for some truly amazing results. Following a few simple and basic treadmill cardio and conditioning tips can help tremendously in this regard. You just might end up very surprised at the incredible improvements in cardiovascular conditioning you achieve!

Even though he is in his late 30’s, Anthony Munroe invests a lot of time training for and competing in extreme and combat sports. Treadmill  exercises help him prepare for these events. He lives on both the east and west coast and enjoys writing articles for

Citations: Image by ArmyStrongPA

Tips on How to Get Back Into Running

Getting back into running after a long time out can be very difficult. You may have had to quit due to ill health, pregnancy, or simply not having enough time to commit to a regular schedule. However, the thought of getting back on the road or the track can be daunting, particularly when you consider how long it will take to reach your previous performance levels. At the same time, you might worry about an old injury that might resurface, as well as whether or not you will be able to find the time to train properly. The following list provides some tips on how to deal with some of these problems:


1 – Short Distances

Start with short distances, and gradually build up your stamina. Running or jogging for 20 minutes every day or every few days will gradually build up your stamina, and help you to move up to longer routes. The worst thing you can do is to try and do too much too soon. Easing your body back into a running routine will also help to prevent injuries and make the task seem more manageable.

2 – Invest in Equipment

Buying equipment like running clothes, trainers and other materials will help you to think seriously about running. This equipment will give you the motivation to start using it, and needn’t be too expensive when you start back into a running schedule.

3 – Find a Running Partner

A running partner that is in a similar position to you, or already has a regular routine, can make it easier to get back into running. You can support each other’s performance, and can also arrange to make regular appointments to run together. Alternatively, consider joining a local running club, which will be able to help you work out a training schedule.

4 – Run at the Gym or at Home at First

If the thought of trudging around your local roads in the rain doesn’t appeal yet, try starting to run at the gym or at home. A running machine in the gym can allow you to build up your stamina, while the same equipment at home may be costly, but can save you some time.

5 – Set Reasonable Goals

Don’t expect too much in the first few weeks, or even the first month of running. Focus on getting into good habits first, and worry about improving performance goals and beating records later.

6 – Register for a Race

Registering for a race, even if it is a year away, will give you the motivation to train. You will also have to organise your time to accommodate training.

7 – Reward Yourself

Set yourself achievable goals, and then reward yourself when you beat them. Try to get a partner, family member or friend involved as well, and set goals that can result in a monthly prize.

8 – Work on Stretches

Get back into the habit of stretching and building up flexibility if you haven’t run for some time. Poor flexibility is the most likely way that you will suffer an injury, so think about extensive stretches before every run, and consider joining a Pilates or Yoga class.

9 – Keep Records

Keeping track of your runs will give you targets to beat, and will also help you to monitor your progress over time.

10 – Use Apps

Different apps can be used while running to keep you motivated, and to record your performance. As well as playing music through a portable player, you can use a smart phone app as a pedometer, or as a route finder.

Guest Post by Martin Roche – Sports enthusiast and blogger about running gear

Citations: Image by cuegalos