I can vividly remember one October in London where it hit 30 degrees on the very last day of the month. But for 2019, as we approach the middle of November, the days have become noticeably chillier. To the point where hats, gloves and scarves are a must. It’s at this point that you wonder how you will actually run in the winter. Or even, run through the winter!
It can be exceptionally hard to find the motivation you need to put on your trainers and head out of the front door when the days are cold, grey and wet. In very bad weather, you’re probably better off running indoors on a treadmill, but nothing can really ever beat an outdoors run. So here are some tips to help you stay motivated through the winter.
Set Yourself A (Big) Goal
The best way to motivate you to keep training is to have something to work towards. Currently, a lot of my running friends are signed up for a Spring marathon – London being a favourite. With these marathons taking place in April, you really need to start training sooner rather than later. The less experienced you are the longer your training plan is likely to be.
Your goal doesn’t always have to be as big as marathon though. Your next step in running could be a 10k or a half marathon. Make yourself a training plan (or check out my guide on how to run your best 10k yet) or download an app. You’re definitely more likely to stick to something if there is a target in sight.
Break That Goal Into Small Targets
Now you have that big goal in the diary, you need to start thinking about the journey to that start line. Big goals are great, but if you are training towards something a few months, or even further away in the future, it can take a while before you start to see results. This can be demotivating, so to give yourself a confidence boost, set some smaller, achievable goals.
You could sign up to some 5km, 10km, and half marathon distance races on your journey to the marathon distance. Or make it a goal to attend parkrun every saturday as part of your 10km or half marathon training. Sometimes organised races are easier to complete your long runs as you don’t have to think of a route, worry about hydration while you’re out and you even get a medal at the end. What won’t we do for a medal?!
Remind Yourself of Why You Run
Sometimes it can be easy to forget why we run in the first place. Especially when we get super busy, schedules get hectic and it gets cold outside. So why did you start running?! Was it to lose weight? Or to improve your fitness? Or was it simply just to have some time and space for yourself? My studies were definitely a time I should have kept running but sadly didn’t.
Even studying an online course such as an online HIM degree from the University of Cincinnati can be super stressful so running would make for a good stress release. All of these reasons are probably still valid, so remind yourself what they are.
Layer Up To Beat The Cold
You are much more likely to want to go out into the cold if you know you’ve got some appropriate clothes to protect you from the elements. Light, thin layers are the best for winter running. You might also want to get thicker socks, a hat, gloves, and a light waterproof jacket.
Hit The Trails
Trail running must be to running, what cyclocross is to cycling. Shorter, more varied routes to keep you moving and reduce the monotony sound perfect for when you want to mix things up a bit and get inspired to head outdoors. Lace up your trail shoes (I’ve been using and loving the Salomon Women’s Supercross Gore-Tex® Shoes this year) and soak up some fresh air.
Get Up, Get Out, Run Early
Pack your kit the night before, then wake up, and get your run out of the way. Go for a run as soon as it gets light outside. This is when you’ll have the most energy and haven’t had time to think too much about it. Just tell yourself that once it’s done you’ll feel great and have the rest of the day free for your work or studies. When it’s cold, remember to warm up with some gentle stretches before you leave the house. Then you can run straight out of your front door. You won’t even get the chance to feel the cold!
Last but not least, the very minimum you deserve is a pat on the back! Don’t be afraid to treat yourself every now and again… a treat doesn’t always have to equal food! Although it might be your favourite snack or drink, it could also be half an hour in front of the TV. Anything you like, as long as it’s healthy, to reward yourself for making it out for your run. You deserve it.
Running is a brilliant exercise. It helps you build stamina, muscles, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce your stress levels. Don’t let bad weather stand in your way.
How do you stay motivated to run in winter?