Tom Evans knows a thing or two about training in all weathers – the British ultrarunner burst onto the scene in 2017 to come third in the six-day, 251km (156-mile) Marathon Des Sables in the Moroccan Sahara. Since then, Evans has won the 101km CCC race at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc and set course records at the Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica and, last year, at the Ultra-Trail World Tour Tarawera 102km in New Zealand.
As he returns from some snowy training in the Peak District, we talk with Tom about winter training and why you shouldn’t feel guilty about skipping a session or two when the weather is bad:
Always do a warm-up
‘Everyone always says do a little warm-up before you go running and I say that to myself, but sometimes you are just in a little bit of a rush and you just chuck your trainers on and go out the door. Running in snow and ice, things can happen so quickly, so doing a proper warm-up is important. I would recommend making sure that you at least do some leg swings and some glute bridges before you go out.’
‘Wrap up warm! I like running in the heat – this morning, it’s not even cold and I ran in a thermal, a long sleeve, a rain jacket and a gilet. I don’t like the cold. So layer up is my top tip.
‘Trail shoes are often a little bit firmer and a little bit heavier, but at the moment I would sacrifice that in order to get the extra grip.’
Check your conditions
‘If you’ve got a key session and you want to run a certain time, make sure you warm up where you’re going to do that run to make sure there are no icy bits. If you need to drive around the route beforehand, then do that.’
Tweak your form
‘This is where you need to think about how you run – you want to land on as big a surface area as possible. If you’re landing on your heel, that’s a small surface area and it’s easy to skid. If you’re landing midfoot to forefoot, that’s a much larger surface area, so your shoe has got more chance of gripping. I’d also say shorten your stride, so you’re landing more on top of your shoes to give yourself the best chance or grip – and take your time.’
Beat the boredom if you’re staying inside
‘If you’re lucky enough to have a treadmill at home, my top tip is to put a towel or T-shirt over the clock – it’s right in front of you and you’d never do it when you’re running normally. Get a good music playlist or podcast – you need to prepare a little bit before. I’d also say get onto the treadmill with a goal – a lot of people run out the door and say I’m going to do this loop and add on this bit and it might take me 30 minutes; you need to go with a goal and stick to it on the treadmill.
‘Also, if you can, use apps like Zwift, which are great. For me, it’s great to stay engaged – I put a mirror in front of the treadmill so I can focus on my form, as that’s one thing that can suffer when you’re switching off.’
Don‘t be afraid to cancel a session
‘I’ve cancelled sessions over the past week when it has been too icy and it’s just not worth the risk. [Missing] one or two training sessions can’t make or break your training. If you have to change your route or change you run because of bad weather, then do, and don’t worry too much about it.’
Tom Evans is a Garmin ambassador.
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