Martin Yelling: “Running training is great in the winter”

Top tri coach celebrates the off-season

Martin Yelling

Top British runner and triathlon coach Martin Yelling shares his favourite drills for keeping your running legs in top condition over winter.

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How do you adapt your run training for winter?

Running training is great in the winter. Running is fantastic for keeping you warm! For triathletes, focussing on the run aspect in the winter can keep the motivational fire burning and give decent quality workouts that take up relatively short amounts of time.

The winter is great for building strength, and winter running workouts that involve intervals (for example, 6x3mins at 85% effort), sustained tempo running (for example, 40mins at 70-75% effort), and threshold running (for example, 3x10minutes at 80%, or 1 x 20mins at 80%) are great running workouts.

To stay on top of triathlon-specific training in the winter, running off the bike can still be done but I tend to advise dropping the intensity off the bike and just keeping the legs turning over rather than smashing up a brick session!

Focusing on a running race in the winter can help keep triathletes motivated.

What are your favourite drills for the cold months?

It’s really important to be warm to effectively do technique drills, and so unless these can be done indoor I tend to keep them short, focussed and more about mobility.

Dynamic drills such as high knee walking, high knee running, walking lunges and acceleration strides can be done to prepare for a session or keep on top of your fast twitch in the winter.

What is the most common mistake that many runners make at this time of year?

Not running! When the weather gets cold and it’s dark in the mornings and evenings it’s easy to knock the planned run on the head. Yet, with a little extra nudge and effort it’s really worth it. Once you get back in from that run you’ll feel invigorated and refreshed.

Do you have any favourite winter kit that you can’t do without?

It’s vital to be dressed for the conditions in the winter and layering up on a run works best. Keeping your hands and head warm on super-cold days really helps.

I really like a gilet as it’s functional, keeps your core warm but doesn’t restrict the full running flow.

I’m also a big fan of a decent head torch in the winter. It means you can be seen but also can get off-road and run in different places in the dark.

Will you be entering a triathlon next year?

Hugely unlikely as the new arrival of twin boys hampers the training time! Plus, I have a few exciting running goals.


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Martin is the pacing expert for the Human Race Pace Series, which includes: the Garmin Race Your Pace Half Marathon (15 February, 2014), the Whole Foods Market Breakfast Run (23 March, 2014) and the Garmin Kingston Run Challenge (October 2014)