How I stay motivated to run outdoors during the winter…

I love running and yes even in winter! People always ask me ‘how do you do it’ or ‘why do you do it’ and it is a pretty easy answer…because I LOVE IT. I love that I get to enjoy the beautiful city I live in while running outdoors, I crave that feeling after a good run when I get home, I enjoy the friendly waves I exchange with other runners as we pass each other, I love feeling healthy, happy, alive and free when I am running outdoors. I also love being one of ‘those crazy people’ drivers see running in the winter. It’s fun to know I might be inspiring someone to try it. It’s funny because before I started running in the winter I used to be amazed when I would see people running all bundled up, I am now that person!

Are there days when I don’t feel like going for a run outside? Sure! And to be honest when the temperature is dangerously low or I know that the sidewalks will be extra slippery I will run on the good old treadmill (aka dreadmill). But 9 out of 10 times I will get outside for a run no matter what. What do I do to stay motivated you ask? Here are a few tips I’ll share with you…

1-Have a goal-I believe that unless you have signed up for a race you’ll have a much harder time motivating yourself to get outside for a run during the colder months. Look up some locals races and sign up for a 5, 10, 21 or 42km race! Having a race goal and putting a plan into action to reach your goal increases your chances of running on days that you don’t feel like leaving your bed or couch.


2-Run with a friend-You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s one of the easiest ways to stay on track in the winter. Not only do they help keep you accountable by “forcing” you to show up, but misery loves company. Grinding out at fast 5 km in the snow and below zero temperatures isn’t quite as bad when you have 3 or 4 of your running friends by your side to freeze your butt off with.
If you don’t have a few running buddies that you can try and team up with, check out some of the local running clubs,they’re usually struggling for numbers in the winter and they would be glad to have you. I am lucky to have my friend Peter to run with once or twice a week.


3-Plan out your route/have a plan-I have a coach who has designed a program for my half marathon training this year.  I am always looking for support and to learn different training methods.  I also strongly believe that every great coach needs a coach, and I am more successful when I have a monthly workout plan and someone to check in with on a weekly basis.

4-Warm up before going out-You do not want to start your run being cold. Make sure you do a good warm up indoors before you head out. Try doing some mobility exercises or even walking up and down your stairs or doing jumping jacks works too. It’s also very important that you wear the right gear. It will take you a few runs to figure out how many layers, what type of hat/scarf/gloves and shoes work best for you, but you’ll learn by trial and error.


5-Bring your music-I don’t always enjoy running with music as I always get tangled or annoyed by the headphones etc but I do find (especially for longer runs) that music really helps to motivate me to speed up and keep going especially when I get tired during the end of my run. Some of the music I enjoy running to is usually upbeat (pop, hip hop, electronic).

These are just a few tips that can make training this winter a little easier and keep you more consistent. If you have some tips or tricks that help keep you on track, I would love to hear them. Please share your tips in the comment section below 🙂

Les

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