Hardy Brixtonites take the splash at the Brockwell Lido winter swim. Picture by Matthew Bluett
As any cliché-loving sports coach will tell you, winter is the season in which champions are made, and that’s not the only reason to keep running & cycling through the cold weather.
There are surely few more simple pleasures than spinning through the city on a crisp clear night, with your tyres humming frostily beneath you.
So here are some Brixton-bespoke ideas for enjoying your running and cycling until the spring.
Cunning running. A bit of inventiveness is all you need to keep running once the ice arrives. Last year, I found that outside Olive Morris House on Brixton Hill, with its overhanging shelter, made a great ice-free spot for the odd interval session. Better still, ask Father Christmas for a set of snow-cleats for your trainers and then when everyone else is fighting to stay upright, you’ll be granted exclusive use of a pristine white running wonderland.
Circuits in the park. If you’d prefer a bit of company, why not head down to the park for some circuit training? You’ll get the benefit of a good hour’s cardio work while improving your speed and core stability. A cheap pair of football boots is a wise investment when it gets muddy though. One Element run sessions on Streatham Common and across London, and Community Circuits run sessions in Brockwell Park.
Winter swim. You can swim outdoors through the winter at the Serpentine or Tooting Bec if you join and — whether you’re indoors or outdoors — getting involved in something like winterswim is a great way to stay motivated.
Weatherproof your ride. Never mind mudguards and waterproofs, the secret to happy winter cycling starts with a good base layer. One well-known brand claims to have been worn continuously for 40 days at sea during a round-the-world record attempt, so a few chilly early morning commutes through London shouldn’t be a problem. To keep your bike ship-shape, Brixton Cycles will sort you out with the essential degreaser and lube you need.
Eat like an explorer. There’s a reason why the diet of choice for the high-altitude, sub-zero explorer includes soup, stew and hot tea: you get warmth, much-needed fluid, and food all in one go. I reckon Kaosarn is a hard-to-beat bet in Brixton for a warming winter meal, but — further afield – why not try Galapagos Foods in Battersea for a bowl of hearty homemade soup?
What are your top winter exercise tips?
Joe Coulson blogs here