Winter running is here.
At least I think it is. So far this winter, it’s been very bizarre. Last week it was a butt freezing 5 degrees for a couple of my runs. Over the weekend, I ran in a layer of fresh snow and temps in the 20s. And then Sunday brought high winds, heavy rain and 50 degrees.
The weather is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get in January.
True winter running will be here soon enough.
And when it does, there’s no doubt that running in the winter is tough.
It is dark. It is cold. The lure of a warm house is pulling you away from your running shoes. Most of us either have to do our training in the morning or the evening after work. Prime time for the most unpleasant conditions. It’s a pain in the butt to put on ALL the layers of clothes and gear. There’s the treadmill (like I mentioned last week), but I know I can only stand the treadmill for so many miles before I go crazy. So how do we find the motivation to run on days that give us little reason to crank out the miles?
Here are 8 tricks that I have found over the years for motivation to run in the winter.
Sleep in Your Running Gear
It’s cold outside so odds are you’re going to be wearing a long-sleeved shirt and pants when you’re running. If you sleep in them they’ll already be nice and warm on your body. If you are really cold, you could wear all your gear but chances are you’d overheat. If you don’t, be sure to lay out the rest of your outfit the night before, too. That’s one less thing to get in your way of running.
Use Small Goals to Get to Big Goals
January and February are the important building blocks of training if you want to race well in March and April. Find a tune up 5k or 5 miler race to gauge how your progressing towards your big goal.
What’s Your Motivation?
Remember why you are running. Aiming for a PR in a spring half marathon or marathon? Trying to get a BQ? Do you need to shake off the stress? Or is it for the way running makes you feel alive and happy? Remembering why you run can help you get out on a gloomy, cold day.
I learned this secret years ago from a friend and it really does help – Put your running clothes in the dryer for a few minutes right before you leave for your run. The initial shock of heading out in freezing temps is a little easier to take when you have extra warm clothes on right next to your skin.
If you can’t do that, try doing your dynamic warm up inside. You’ll build some heat and feel a little more comfortable when you step outside.
Join a Running Group or Find a Running Friend
Knowing that there are others waiting for you will motivate you to roll out of bed no matter what the weather is. During the winter from hell last year, I totally relied on Sarah for motivation during our long runs. And she on me! There was no way I was letting her go out alone. Misery LOVES company. When single digit temperatures (not counting the windchill) and a double digit run are staring at you, having company makes a HUGE difference in getting it done. Besides, running friends are simply marvelous.
Buy New Cold Weather Gear
When you have the right cold weather gear, it makes all the difference. My cold comfort level changed once I got a quality running jacket and mittens that actually keep my hands warm. Plus it helps to have new gear to look good in, right? You can find all my cold weather running favorites HERE.
Remember the Badass Effect
If you’ve ever gone for a run in frigid temps and developed lashicles, browsicles or a beardsicle, you know that you feel pretty badass afterwards. A frozen badass but a badass nonetheless. Not everyone runs when it’s cold outside. It takes will and determination. It builds grit. Aren’t those traits you want to have while deep in the pain cave of your next race?
If all else fails, maybe it’s time to give yourself a break from running for a few weeks to find your mojo again. Try pool running, spinning, a new class at the gym or a home workout. Give cross training a try to refresh your love of running. Spring will be here before we know it and then you’ll be warm again!
How do you stay motivated to run in the winter?