Don’t hibernate at home this winter! Take some advice from Olympian Eilish McColgan to keep on running.

Wind. Rain. Snow. You can rely on the Britishweather to make running seem a little lessappealing this winter. But if the thought oftraining outside when it’s dark and coldsends you racing to the couch, know this– cold-weather training is good for yourbody. In fact, research shows that exercisingin the chillier months not only keeps fitness levels up, but also mightoffer unexpected benefits, such as improved mental health and bettersleep. And if you want to be running well in the spring, middle distancerunner and GB double Olympian, Eilish McColgan, notes that it’simportant to continue training now. ‘Winter is a great time to switchthings up and build an endurance base,’ says McColgan. ‘It’s myendurance phase, during which I’ll target a couple of 10K races. I liketo stay competitive because, if you’re racing in the spring, it can be ashock to the system to suddenly have to find that competitive spirit.A bit of focus helps me continue to run fast and not feel stale.’ Trainlike an Olympian this winter and reap the benefits come spring byharnessing McColgan’s top cold-weather running tips.

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‘All you need is a good pair oftrainers, a pair of running tights anda top, and you’re good to go. However,a windproof jacket and gloves are goodinvestments, too, and reflective kit is agood idea if you’re running near roads.Buying new training gear can give youthe added push needed to stay motivatedover winter – look good, feel good!

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‘I love keeping a training diary– it allows me to see the improvementsI make every week. An easy way to keeprunning over winter is to log your trainingthrough an app such Polar Flow ( That way, you have a record of yourtraining and can track your progress asa runner – it will keep you motivated topursue your goals whatever the weather!’


‘When the cold, winter monthstake over, the best way to stay motivatedis to find a running buddy. If you’reapprehensive about starting a runningprogramme, or are worried aboutcommitting to a club schedule, find one ortwo close friends who can join you for runs.Knowing that you’re meeting someone else for a run keeps you accountable – you don’t want to let them down – and it’s exciting to share the journey.’


‘There’s nothing quite like havinga date set in the diary to keepyou driving towards your goal. Itcould be your first ever ParkRun (, a 10K, or even a half marathon ifyou’re feeling adventurous. It will certainlykeep you committed to stick with theprogramme you set yourself when theweather isn’t as good as you’d like!’


‘Invest in a GPS tracking watchto help boost your motivation.The Polar M430 ( will help youto monitor your training. It’s always nice toknow how far you’ve run and how fastyou’ve been going. Watching the numbersget faster each time is so exciting – youcan see and feel your fitness building.


‘Do some basic core stabilityexercise, and add somecross-training to your workout routine bytaking a Spin class, going swimming orattending a bootcamp. Cross-training willbring variety to your training and benefityour running ability by boosting fitnesslevels, plus it will help reduce your chanceof picking up an injury. It’s a win-win!.


Track workouts

McColgan trains on the track everyTuesday to stay on top of herspeed goals. ‘I find it’s easy togauge fitness when you knowyour lap times,’ she says.

Treadmill sessions

Thursday is treadmill training day.‘I do a tempo session on thetreadmill, so I can stay at a certainheart rate and pace regardlessof the weather conditions,’says McColgan.

Fartlek runs

Fartlek (speed play) runs are partof the schedule. ‘On Saturdays, I dofartlek sessions on the trail,’ sheexplains. ‘I don’t often train onthe road – I’m always on thetreadmill, trail or track.

Rest days

It’s important to rest, too. ‘I focus on running a total of 40 miles per week but Fridays are always my day off,’ says McColgan.


McColgan runs once a day, then uses the bike or cross-trainer in the evening. ‘When I used to run twice, I got injured often,’ she explains.

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