Running through the seasons in the UK
Running Through Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter!
There are four clearly defined seasons in the UK known as Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, each of which with its own unique qualities and distinctive weather patterns. Despite this the weather in the UK is unpredictable at best, increasingly so with the rise in global warming. You cannot guarantee sun in summer or snow in winter and rain can fall on any day of the year regardless of season! In-fact you can experience sun, heavy rain and blustery winds all in the same day. Are you a fair weather runner or a hardened come rain or shine runner? Monitoring the weather forecast adapting and being prepared are all part of being a runner in the UK!
Ahh the beautiful spring!
Spring (March, April, and May) is a beautiful time of year with an abundance of colour from blossoming trees and flowering plants. With days getting increasingly warmer and longer this can be a very motivating time of year to get outside and run in the UK with lots to look at and enjoy. Spring is also synonymous with rain showers which can occur suddenly and take you off guard so a quick drying top or breathable running jacket could be a good idea.
Running through the summer…
Summer (June, July, and August) is the UK’s warmest season with temperatures over the past few summers ranging between 15°C and 30°C. On the longest day of the year in 2021 the sun rose at 4.43am and set at 9.22pm, perfect for an early morning or late evening run to avoid the heat of the day. Hydration is super important for runners at any time of year but it is extra important to hydrate before, during and after any run in warm temperatures and consider replacing salts lost through increased sweating. If you have no choice but to run in the heat of the day then plan a route in a shaded area, lather on the sun cream, think about wearing a sun hat and sunglasses along with light, breathable clothing.
Don’t fall in the fall!
Autumn (September, October and November) is also a beautiful time of the year aesthetically in the UK with leaves turning to golden yellow, red, orange and brown. Weather can be mild and dry or wet and windy but generally as time goes on temperatures start to dip which can be a welcome change for some people. Be aware when running around parks or in countryside that nights will be drawing in and due to falling leaves the ground can be more hazardous, increasing likelihood of trips, slips and falls. If you are running in the dark consider visibility and reflective clothing along with head lights and accessories to increase your visibility such as arm bands and chest lights.
Wrap up runner, it’s winter
Last but not least, winter (December, January and February) is the darkest and coldest season in the UK. Sun can rise at 8am and set at 4pm making days short and dark. Temperatures during winter can range between 0 to 7°C and although sunny days are possible they will be cold. Icy conditions and snow can also occur during this period but again this can be unpredictable. Some winters are much milder than others. Definitely time to invest in training or trail shoes with good grips.
Sunshine Indoors for Runners?
Some runners may prefer to train in other ways during winter such as on a treadmill or focus on Pilates and strength training to help improve running at other times of year when days are longer. Despite this current evidence has shown that running in cooler temperatures can improve a runners personal bests over 10kms due to lower heart rate and dehydration levels which put less strain on the cardiovascular system. Worth a try!
If you can face the shorter, colder, darker days then layering up your clothing is the way forward. Consider a base layer made of breathable lightweight material. Also think about your extremities, warm running socks, gloves and as we lose 7-10% of heat through our head, a hat suitable for running are all important items.
Dress appropriately and get out
You can’t say that you don’t experience a variety of weather and seasonal changes in the UK but try to embrace this by being prepared and changing your running clothing, pace and distance to suit the season and time of year. Whether running in summer or winter the benefits of running to your health and well-being remain the same. Don’t let the weather put you off!