Motivation for Running in the Winter

February 11, 2014

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?

    1. Great tips! I’ve started listening to books when I run at the park. Knowing I’ll get to hear more of a good book is motivating for me.

    1. I feel like the biggest wuss when it comes to winter-time running! I’ve been keeping runs to the treadmill and it’s becoming sooooo boring.

    1. You are seriously hardcore for running in that caliber of winter weather!! I kind of feel like are spoiled down here in Texas when I see pictures of people running in piles of snow.

    1. great tips! i don’t have anything new to add. since we moved a few months ago i don’t have any running buddies (except my husband) so that’s been hard. i need to find some running friends! unfortunately the training groups i know about aren’t close by at all.

    1. I made the blog! It was nice seeing this during my lunch break. Have a great day!

    1. You mentioned the two biggest ways that help me stay motivated–having a goal race to train for and having an equally crazy friend to run with. 🙂 It was fun to finally get to run with you last week. It definitely helps to have conversation to focus on instead of thinking about how cold you feel!

      1. I agree! We will have to do it again soon. I’m up for this weekend if you are. (I can’t remember what you said your schedule was like??)

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