Finding the motivation to run is hard. Finding the motivation to run during the winter can be nearly impossible. (That is unless you live in the south where winter is the ideal time to run.)
I’ve lived in cold-weather states my whole life—Minnesota growing up and now Alaska for the past 6.5 years. I’ve run in all sorts of winter conditions and there isn’t much that prevents me from going out each day for my daily run in the frigid cold. Don’t for one second think I enjoy running in the winter—I don’t. I actually greatly despise winter. But obviously I’ve found enough motivation to keep me going every single winter morning.
It usually doesn’t requite too much willpower to get up in the morning during the summer when it is light and warm out, but on those dark, cold, blustery days, sometimes I’d much rather be in my warm bed still sound asleep. Yet, somehow I fight the urge every morning and am so thankful I decide to go against what I felt like doing and do what I knew is best for me.
Here are some ways I’ve found to motivation myself during the winter months.
1. Having a specific workout planned.
Before I go to bed, I know what my workout is going to be that next morning. This commits me to a workout before I even start. I’ve made the decision that I am going to complete the workout I prescribed to myself. I don’t want to feel like a failure and not complete something I said I was going to do. This way I also don’t have to think and contemplate what I should do for my workout in the morning when I’m tired and lacking motivation. I already know.
2. Having a goal race.
To go along with #1, these individual workouts need to add up to something big—a race! Commit yourself to running a race 3-4 months away. Something not too far away but still within a time frame that will allow adequate training.
3. Focus on the results
These could be long-term results or the feeling you get from completing that daily run. Seriously, I’m pretty sure the main factor that keeps me heading out the door each morning is knowing the sense of accomplishment I will have after completing my run and the runner’s high I get. Who else can say they went for a 6 mile run at 5:30 a.m. at your office? You definitely have bragging rights.
4. Meet a friend
It is so much easier to get a workout completed when you have someone waiting for you. Plus the time flies by with someone else.
5. Join a training group.
The off-season is a great time to join a training group to stay motivated. There are several groups here in Anchorage that offer a weekly training session in The Dome—inside where it is warm, dry, and not slippery. My sister meets a training class at her gym twice a week. The local running store here in town offers training groups, and I know there are private groups as well.
6. Find inspiration through social media.
This could be following someone’s blog; finding inspiration on Pinterest; or posting inspirational quotes on your fridge, mirror, or workout room. I’ve often thought of friends who are out there training as well, knowing I’m not alone doing this crazy thing called running in the winter.
7. Sometimes I don’t even give myself the option
Sometimes I just don’t give myself the option to go running each day. Despite how much I’d rather not go for a run something, I force myself to get up and put my clothes on (which I laid out the night before). Within about 10 minutes I’m not nearly as tired, and I’ve forgotten about sleeping. I know I will feel so much better at the end, and I’ve never regretted a run.
How do you find motivation to run during these frigid days?