This can take various forms. A common one is combining your running with your commuting. Although not feasible for everyone (certainly in the bigger cities, where transport is pretty grim in winter), crowding onto over-packed trains dressed for minus 15 degrees, while the air temperature is nearer 40 degrees), where the roads are well lit, providing mile after mile of runnable surfaces, it’s a great way of doing something you have to do, while getting some much needed training in too.
A comfortable running pack, head torch and reflective gear are a must, but these are useful to have in any discerning runner's wardrobe anyway. If we take London, it's only 7.5 miles on the main road from Clapham to Canary Wharf. It takes time to cross roads, and dodge drunken Christmas party goers, but the river provides a great natural constant footpath. Start out with the aim of running just to a nearby tube stop, and before long you will be finding the ease and satisfaction of running outweighs the 2 minutes of discomfort as you walk out of the warm office into the cold, and your two feet have become your main form of transport.
Another great idea is combining your running with that "to do" list. Perhaps you need to go to the bank to pay a cheque in, pop to the post office or even go to order the Christmas Turkey. Or perhaps this year, some of your Christmas cards can be hand-delivered, saving you money at the same time as getting you fit. It’s pretty satisfying to get these fairly mundane tasks done, while also ticking off a few miles.
3. Find a Friend
This one doesn't work for everyone, but does for many - sign up to a few events over the winter season. Mix up the distances, and style of event, to keep yourself interested and vary the training. If you typically do marathons, why not try a 5k? If you normally run 10k races, try one of the increasingly popular obstacle course-style events. A fun one this time of year is also the numerous "Santa Dash" style race, which is held across the company and usually held for charity. Or maybe even try one of the Run the Wild events like The Brewery Trail Run! Knowing you have a near term deadline is sometimes enough to focus the mind.
And as a final tip… Remember the real challenge is taking that very first step. Once you are out, it’s never quite as cold, never quite as wet, and never quite as painful as you thought it might be...
Simon James is the founder of Run the Wild - the UK’s first premier, dedicated trail running holiday adventure company. Operating in the UK and the Alps, they deliver holidays that combine the sense of 'team' from mountaineering, with the thrill of trail running in wild places. Simon is a keen trail runner and marathon runner with a PB of 2hrs 37mins. He is a qualified Leader in Running Fitness as well as International Mountain Leader and offers treks in the Alps.