Confession: I love cold weather and I’d much rather run when I need a jacket, hat, and gloves than when it’s crazy hot and humid. But I still lose motivation to get out there and run when it’s cold out. I mean, I love it as soon as I get going, but taking that step from the warm house into the cold outside it so hard. Add in the fact that winter has seemed very grey here the last few years and you find me wanting to sit in a warm spot with a bright light on reading a book. But we all know that getting moving goes a long ways towards fighting the “blahs” that come with less sunlight during the winter.
- Remember your “why” – It doesn’t necessarily have to be your “why” for running, just your “why” for this particular run. Perhaps it’s a key run in your training plan or you have a particular outfit you want to wear. Whatever. I’m a firm believer that anything can be a great motivator if that’s what works for you in that moment.
- Set mini goals – Sometimes it’s hard to start a run, knowing you have to be out in the cold for an extended period of time. Some days, I make it a goal just to get out there and get started. Once I’ve warmed up, I set A,B, and C goals (or more if I hope to run longer.) Something about being able to say that I’m halfway to my minimum mileage motivates me. And 9 times out of 10, I’ll end up running closer to my final goal than my minimum goal.
- Use your village – Find someone to join you or at least to find help make you accountable.
- Harness the doubters in your life – We all have them. Use them. If the thought of proving them wrong gets you out the door, you win.
- Reward yourself – Or at least tell yourself you will. I’ll run for beer or donuts or pizza, but just as often I’ll run for the idea of it.
- Run because it makes you a bada$$ – Now, you know I don’t condone running in unsafe conditions, but running in the winter is bada$$. Period. Do it and brag about it.
- Set a big scary goal – Signing up for a race usually motivates me – either to run faster or to run farther. Pick a goal and create a plan and get to work.
- Just get it done – There will be days that you just don’t want to do it. And it’s totally ok to not do it sometimes. But if you have race goals or health goals or just plain need the mental pickup, sometimes you just have to find your mental strength and take that first step. Because that first step is always the hardest.
I’ve been struggling since MCM, in part because I don’t have a big scary goal out there right now. I’m still toying with the idea of marathon redemption, but honestly, it’s been good to actually have time to accomplish some non-running goals. Maybe it’s time to focus on running faster rather than farther for a while. I’m hoping to have a solid race on Sunday at the Woodrow Wilson Half Marathon to get an idea what my speed actually is these days.
What’s your motivator these days? Is it different in the winter than in the summer?