Winter running – how to stay fresh and injury free

Olympian Michelle Dillon and rising pro Emma Pallant share their advice

Winter running – stay fresh and injury free

Returning to training after a post-season break, it can be hard to fire up the mojo. With next spring a distant horizon, the temptation can be to delay until mid-January and join the masses clambering to shake off their winter hibernation with the band aid of a new gym subscription.


But from beginner to elite, the reality is that to reap real rewards and enjoyment from multisport, keeping consistently active pays dividends. And running is the easiest of the three disciplines to throw yourself into because there’s no need for a pool or a bike, you can just lace up and head out the door.

It also gives the best bang for your buck in terms of fast, aerobic fitness, as attested by much-travelled two-time Ironman world champion Chris ‘Macca’ McCormack, who regularly hops on a treadmill after checking in from a long haul flight.

While running does bring greater risks of injury than the swim or bike (unless you fall off said bike), it’s a training staple and shared passion of British professional triathlete Emma Pallant and her coach Michelle Dillon.

Based in south west London, Pallant switched to triathlon from track and cross-country in 2012 and has already won the British National Championship and British Super Series. On a fast learning curve, she’s now setting her sights on Olympic qualification for 2016.

Dillon is also a former Commonwealth 10,000m track athlete, who switched to multisport and placed sixth in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Having started Team Dillon coaching, she has guided many of Britain’s elite performers to success, including Will Clarke and her now husband Stuart Hayes.

As well as concentrating on Pallant’s development, Dillon also mentors a group of age-groupers who, like many 220 readers, have to fit triathlon around busy family and working lives. With Pallant’s help, here she explains how to keep moving through the winter months, plus the drills, run sessions and races that beginners can try to retain the edge and build a strong base for the new season.

(Images: Romilly Lockyer)


How do you keep your run training fresh in winter? Let us know in the comments!