Winter is such a tough time for runners if you live somewhere that gets cold, icy, and snowy during the winter. When everyone else is hiding, you have to find the motivation to get up and either brave the slippery sidewalks, or to hit the treadmill for what feels like the billionth time. Today I thought I’d share some of the things that have helped me stay motivated to train during the winter, particularly as this is my fourth winter of running in Chicago.
Winter Running Motivation Tip #1: Sign up for a spring race!
Signing up for a race is great general motivation to run, and it definitely works during the winter, too. You don’t want to be the slowest person at your spring 5K or half marathon! Plus, looking forward to running outdoors when it’s a balmy 35°F in the spring can definitely helps me when I’m all bundled up on my outdoor runs and struggling to breathe through my neck gaiter. Write out your running plan into your calendar and schedule your runs, perhaps even setting an alarm on your phone to alert you when it’s time to lace up your running shoes and get going.
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Winter Running Motivation Tip #2: Make treadmill running special
If you’re like me, you probably have a TV show or two that’s a guilty pleasure. I turn that TV show I somehow get addicted to into fuel to motivate me to get on the treadmill. I figured this one out last winter, when I would only let myself watch new episodes of my favorite TV shows that I was totally addicted to when I was on the treadmill. If I wanted to find out what happened in last week’s episode, I had to hop on to run a few miles. It worked surprisingly well! So well, that I’m using the same technique to get me through treadmill running this winter. (Read more about how to make treadmill running less boring.)
Winter Running Motivation Tip #3: Try new winter running gear
If you have the money to spend, sometimes having some new winter gear to test out can be motivational. I know when I bought my first pair of GORE-TEX running shoes, I couldn’t wait to test them out to see how well they would work in yucky conditions. Same thing with my Yak Trax. Sometimes getting new gear adds enough variety to your running to get you excited to get out there.
Winter Running Motivation Tip #4: Find pretty places to run
If you’re a fan of outdoor winter running, try finding places to run that still have beautiful scenery. I love running through residential neighborhoods in the evenings in December when they all fire up their Christmas lights. And some paths in my area in the Chicago suburbs are exquisitely beautiful when it snows. Enjoying the scenery as I run is one of my most favorite reasons to run, and I love finding the beauty in my winter scenery just as much as I love watching the flowers bloom in the spring and the trees turning in the fall.
Winter Running Motivation Tip #5: Think about how much you hate running in the heat
This one only works for those of us who aren’t big fans of running during the hottest parts of the summer. I don’t tolerate running in the heat very well, so I’d much rather run when it’s freezing outside than when it’s blazing hot. So, I personally think about how much I despise running in the heat and how all summer I was looking forward to winter running, which helps get me out the door. Really, it’s all about finding the things that motivate you and making those things work to your advantage.
Tell me in the comments:
How do you keep your running motivation in the winter?