How To

Seven Ways for Runners to Stay Motivated This Winter

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Don't let the ice and snow slow you down this winter.

As the weather cools down, much like the wildlife around us, we all seem to want to be dormant. Cold temperatures and shorter, darker days (and snow) make holing up inside with family and friends while eating Christmas cookies seem very appealing. Don’t let the winter discourage you. Here are some tips to keep you running regardless of the weather.

Buy new gear

Another reason to shop! Not only will new winter running gear keep you warm and make your run more enjoyable, it will also get you excited about running. After all, no one wants to spend $120 on compression pants and then not use them. You will also be more comfortable, making getting out in the cold a little less of a hassle.

Take a different path

Sometimes mere monotony can discourage running. Who wants to see the same thing all the time; especially in the winter when the usual beauty of nature is in hibernation? Try varying your running route to add some much-needed interest. Also, there is also something to be said for taking a loop or path that is longer than usual. A new route can not only keep you motivated, but encourage you to run farther.

Battle the bulge

Cold weather may hinder our workouts when we need them the most. Considering all the extra calories many people take in during the holiday season, it is especially important to lace up those running shoes if you don’t want to put on extra pounds.

But treat yourself

On the other hand, thinking about weight can be a motivator if you allow yourself earned treats. There are many winter goodies that tend to populate our kitchens in the winter. Instead of punishing yourself when you indulge, allow the indulgence to only come after a run. This type of reward system will get you excited to run, and can also motivate you to run farther or faster depending on what is waiting for you at the finish line.

Commit to a race

Deciding to run a race at the end of the season or signing up for small races throughout the season will keep you accountable. Believe it or not, winter is full of fun race opportunities; Turkey Trots, Santa dashes, and resolution runs are in abundance. If you really want to challenge yourself, sign up for a marathon or half marathon in March or April. The need to succeed can be the best motivator of all.

Keep your room heated

This is a simple trick. It may seem strange, but part of the reason you aren’t getting up to work out is because you hate leaving the warmth of your bed. If your room is toasty warm, you will have no excuse to hide under the covers. One way to achieve the desired effect is to purchase a ceramic heater, or set your thermostat to start warming the house about an hour before you want to wake up.

Document it

Lots of runners are focused on results, which may include getting in shape or being able to run a certain distance or speed. Just as it is inspiring to read others’ success stories or see before and after body pictures, make yourself the subject. Keep a journal or post on social media to make your workouts measurable. Not only could this create a need to push yourself, if others are involved through social media, they will hold you accountable and prevent you from quitting.

Whatever your motivation, there are a bunch of reasons to put down the pie, get off the couch, and get outdoors. Don’t let this great fitness season pass you by.

Image courtesy wikimedia commons user GeographBot

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