Running in the winter can be tough, especially if you are in an area like the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic regions where we get hit with snow, ice, and even big blizzards (Hello, Storm Jonas!). Sometimes it’s tougher to convince yourself to suit up and get out the door to stay on track with training for spring races like the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. Here are some of my tips to make sure that I stay motivated and stick to my training plans through the winter months.
1.Buy the proper gear.
If you are going to be running outside in the winter make sure you have some warm-layering essentials and accessories including socks, gloves and a hat. I like to layer a tank top tucked into some cold weather long tights and layer a half zip plus a shell coat on top and finish it off with gloves and a hat or fleece headband. Keep everything by the door or laid out the night before so you aren’t scrambling to find what you need in the morning.
2. Join a local running group or make it a date.
One of my biggest motivators for getting out the door on cold, dark winter mornings is having someone to meet up with. Find a local running group that meets at specific times or make a date with a friend to go for a run. If you are meeting someone, you are far less likely to hit the snooze button and miss a run!
3. Keep your spring goals in mind.
If you have signed up for a race like the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run or have a spring racing goal in mind, mark your calendar or print out a countdown of how many days it is until the race. Also print out your training plan and mark off each run you complete. Keep in mind your target race or how it will feel when you accomplish your goal every run as motivation.
4. Have a backup plan.
Sometimes running outside in the winter may not be an option for you. If you belong to a local gym, be prepared to complete a treadmill workout. I also like to keep a bunch of at-home strength and cardio workout DVDs and Youtube videos on hand. If I can’t get a run in I can at least do some cross-training or just switch my training schedule around for the week.
5. Make your long runs an event.
Getting in my longer runs is the biggest challenge for me in the in winter so I like to create little rituals for myself to stay motivated. After my weekend long runs I like to treat myself to a coffee or hot chocolate and a breakfast snack. It seems silly but having that big mug of hot chocolate and a bagel is sometimes motivation enough to get my miles for the day done. Treat yourself to something small on your long run days, and it can be something to look forward to all week. It could also be getting a manicure or taking time to snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie you’ve been wanting to see-only after you finish your run!