It’s dark, cold and slippery out there plus you can’t feel your fingers, ears or any other extremities. Yep, that’s what winter running is all about! The experience of running during the winter season can be challenging for even the most motivated and experienced runners.
That’s why it makes sense that winter is often called the ‘off season’ for many runners, as it’s just really hard to get away from the comfort of home and out into the cold for a good run.
However, for those of us who want to continue running through the winter months, whether it is to reduce stress, to stay in shape or to train for an upcoming race, there are a few ways to make sure you keep on running:
Do your warm-up inside.
One of the most difficult parts of running in the winter is heading out into the cold and feeling like you will never warm up. Rather than waiting to warm up during your run, you might want to get your heart rate pumping indoors by doing some quick jumping jacks, high knees or jump-rope before you head out into the cold. When you get outside, you’ll feel the cold air refreshing and less of a shock.
Sign up for a Spring race
Or even better a spring destination race! It seems obvious, but having a race booked is great motivation to keep on training.
Don’t pick a race in May or June, this will allow you to slack a little, but pick a race earlier in the season like, for example in March. This will keep you motivated to train.
There are always some hardcore running groups that never stop training or there is always that one person that is super motivated and will never stop running during the winter months. Try to find such a group or person and join them for their runs. Together, it is a lot easier to stay motivated than by yourself. Can’t find a running group close? Knowing that there will be someone out there even if it is raining, snowing or still early and dark will give you a reason to head out of the door and get it done. After all, no one wants to be left alone in the cold right?
Pick the warmest part of the day
Running during the working day may not be accessible for most people during the warmer months of the year (too sweaty) however; running during the winter is a more viable option for some. A short, midday run during the warmest part of the day will give you an extra energy burst and clear your mind. That sweaty summer situation? All taken care of during those cold winter months -more manageable.
Let’s face it; it’s difficult to stay motivated to run! This is because motivation is a temporary feeling that inspires us to make a certain decision or affect a change. Rather than worrying about your motivation, work towards getting disciplined. Discipline grows as we take consistent actions or decisions regarding running, health or anything else. However, just like a muscle it has to be worked in order to grow. Set small goals regarding your winter running. This will help you to work towards a habit of getting out the door a certain amount of times per week.
As you become more accustomed to the weather, discipline and habit will start to take over and you might even enjoy it so much that you’ll run in the craziest of weather extremes! Just stay motivated, you can do it!