WITH the winter nights drawing in and temperatures dropping, we spoke to the organisers of the Sage Reading Half Marathon for their top tips to training through the Winter.

Laura Burke is a running coach and senior events manager for Reading’s world renowned half marathon, taking place on March 17.

Safety first!

Training for your next race, be it your winter 10k or March 2019’s Sage Reading Half Marathon doesn’t have to stop, or become a chore, just because of shorter days and darker nights. Whether it’s a hi-vis vest, jacket or reflective headband or torch, make sure you can be clearly seen by motorists and cyclists to avoid accidents.

Well-lit paths are essential. Be aware of pedestrians – leaving your headphones at home will help a great deal, you’ll be more aware of your surroundings reducing the risk of tripping or bumping into others.

Join a running club...

With the light fading and the chills taking hold, it will take a lot of will power to lace up and head out on those solo winter training miles. Arrange to meet with a group of runners, it’ll make the task in hand much easier to complete, you’ll be sipping that post-run hot chocolate before you know it.

Training with others adds accountability – you’ll feel like you can’t drop out – training will remain consistent and you’ll see big changes in your fitness and ability to complete the increasing distances.

You'll encourage each other when you're feeling low on energy and motivation, you’ll push each other to achieve new speeds and distances. Celebrate with each other - it’s amazing the power of a high-five or a smile from a training buddy at the end of a cold, wintery training session.

Warm up!

Remember the importance of warming up – we’re all guilty of rushing into our training but give yourself a few extra minutes ahead of your run and you’ll reduce your risk of injury. You’ll also find the miles much more enjoyable as you’ll be ready for the task ahead. Muscles and joints need to be eased into an activity, jog on the spot, rub your thighs to create heat through the quadriceps, circle your arms and start at a slow pace before picking up the speed.

Keep your training varied...

If you’ve lost your ‘running mojo’ and need a different challenge, why not sign up to an outdoor bootcamp. After a long week in the office, soak up all the fresh air and nature that you can, you’ll work through lots of bodyweight exercises and explosive movements, all hugely beneficial for runners. Be ready to get a little muddy – a bootcamp is a sure way to put the fun back into your training plan!

If you’d rather keep to running, vary your distances, pace and routes – well-lit parks, city runs or visits to the athletics track are a great way to push your fitness levels. New surroundings always invigorate training programmes so soak up the fresh air and sights of Reading.

Set yourself a goal...

Whatever your level or pace, setting challenges is useful to stay motivated. Training for a weekly 5k such as Reading parkrun or an official race, such as a 1ok or half marathon is a great way to channel your training and efforts.

Layer up!

Running gloves, a neck guard, hat and baselayer, all highly recommended pieces of clothing for your winter training. Seamless garments that reduce irritation and moisture wicking fabrics that breathe to keep you warm and sweat-free are ideal.

Keep a diary...

Track your progress, reward your efforts and your confidence will soar! The weeks will fly by in readiness for our spring half marathon, enjoy the journey and soak up all you’ve achieved ahead of race day. All eyes on that Madejski Stadium finish line and medal around your neck!

Grab your spot on the start line, sign up today: www.readinghalfmarathon.com - Race entry starts £36.