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How happy winter running can end your 'sad' days

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When running after dark, it’s essential that you’re visible to other people, particularly motorists.

When running after dark, it’s essential that you’re visible to other people, particularly motorists.

When running after dark, it’s essential that you’re visible to other people, particularly motorists.

Falling temperatures and fewer daylight hours don't mean that your running routine has to go into hibernation. Running in cold weather can help shake off those winter blues and boost your energy level.

When the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Running aids the release of powerful hormones that help combat this depression, increasing positive mood states during the cold winter months. And running outdoors helps boost your mood even more.

The most difficult thing is getting out the front door when it's wet, windy, cold and dark. I can guarantee that once you start running you warm up quickly and you never come in feeling less than satisfied when you finish your run.

When I was growing up in Cornafean, which is about eight miles from Cavan town, during the winter months it was difficult to get out running in the daylight hours as it was pitch dark from five o'clock in the evening. It wasn't normal then to go running around country roads. My sister Eileen used to tie a torch onto the front of her bike and cycle along with me as I ran.

It was an unusual sight in those times and when I heard a car coming, I would pull in to avoid getting hit. Eileen would have to stop and because the roads were hilly, she found it hard to get going again. One night she got totally fed up with this and warned me that if I stopped once more she would never come out with me again. That did the trick and as time went on nothing would stop me!

A good tip for staying motivated during the winter months is to run with a few friends. This is the best way to make sure you get out. It will make the winter months pass much quicker as you chat and have fun while clocking up the miles.

As we approach winter you should purchase some sensible, warm and rainproof clothing. I would invest in a light running jacket which does not absorb the rain. A significant portion of heat escapes from your head, so a hat that also covers your ears is essential to running comfortably in winter. All you really need is a Coolmax t-shirt , running tights, light jacket, hat, gloves and off you go.

Some of you will be able to run at lunchtime, which is great, and you can absorb that needed sunshine we rarely get in the winter.

When going running before or after work during the winter it's likely you will be running in the dark. When running after dark, it's essential that you're visible to other people, particularly motorists. Your clothes should be bright, wear a reflective vest.

There will be the odd day when the weather will be just too bad. I would advise people not to go running if there is snow, ice or extreme wind. It is just too dangerous and one could fall easily.

Let's hope the winter will be kind to us, so that we can continue to enjoy the brilliant and beautiful endurance of running.

Health & Living