The moment the seasons swap from warm and sunny to cold and wet, a lot of runners can find their motivation getting pushed to the limits. One day you’re pushing for a new PB as you tick off the miles on a cloudless 21°C afternoon, and the next morning you wake up to see your route is drenched in rain, puddles and near-freezing temperatures. On paper, it’s far from ideal. But it’s not all bad. Without an event on the horizon until the spring rolls back around, we’re here to help keep you motivated and working towards your goals!
From pulling on the right gear to getting into the right mindset, we spoke to a bunch of cold-season runners to get their best advice for staying motivated throughout the winter. And here’s the best bit: their tips will help you crush your runs, maintain your fitness and kickstart the new year ready to smash your goals.
So stop looking at treadmills online and bookmark these top tips right now. That’s the first step to making the most of your chilly-season runs:
Focus on The Foundations
Race season might be all about nailing a PB during that event you’ve been working towards for a year, but winter running is more about building the foundations for the next year. It’s about being flexible with your aims, with your pace and with the mileage you achieve on any given run. It’s about finding the right balance between, “you can do this, it’s only cold if you’re under-dressed” and “today’s a hot chocolate and chill out kind of day!” Winter running is about finding ways to keep putting one foot in front of the other in a way that keeps your drive alive.
Find A Cold-Weather Enthusiast
We all have the one friend who trains whatever the conditions, yelling things like, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong gear” as they step into a hoolie. That’s the person you want to run with. It might not be every time they lace up, but commit to certain days or miles per week and then don’t let them down. That will encourage you to embrace the elements and put those yards in. And if you don’t have that kind of crazy influence in your life, try running with a dog. That will work every time. And if you ever come across weather where it feels too wet, icy or cold to brave the outdoors, hit up the ™ instead.
Give Yourself A Reward
People are a lot more enticed by the idea of something when there’s a reward involved, so try motivating yourself to lace-up and leave the house with the promise of a reward. Treat yourself to some new running gear if you run everyday that week or, better yet, set a time to meet someone for a catch-up over brunch at your favorite spot. Nothing will lure you out of the door on a cold morning quite like a small reward, especially if someone is waiting at the finish line. And if that’s not enough, tell yourself you can call it quits after 5 minutes if the weather is really that bad. Trust us, you’ll almost-definitely stay out and finish your run. It starts with getting out the door and getting wet, but it ends with an epic rush of endorphins and a nice hot shower.
Layer Up, Legends.
When it comes to embracing the elements and running in the cold, the secret sauce is layers. Gloves, beanie, those neat-little headband-slash-earmuff-slash-scarf things that keep your face warm, skins, thermals, fleece-lined tights, gilets, body warmers, any other cold weather gear that will keep your core and extremities warm without overdoing it. But to really get your motivation piquing, keep reminding yourself of the goal while you’re getting ready; remember your reasons for running and try to create a mindset that prioritizes both motivation and dedication. Getting out the door is always the hardest part, but there’s nothing better than sucking in that cold fresh air while you’re bundled up.
Wear The Right Shoes
There’s not many things worse than coming back from a long run and feeling cold to the core, especially in your feet. That’s why you need to wear the right shoes; ones that keep the warmth in and the rain-soaked streets out. Translation: little-to-no mesh. That’s where our guide to the best running shoes has your back. Of course, second best to the right shoes, are the right socks, in which you want a pair that wick away wetness while keeping your feet nice and warm. After all, the best way to feel motivated about your next run is to feel good after the last. And when you get back in, stuff them with old newspapers so they’re ready for the next one!
Get Yourself A Running Plan
Whether you’re chasing a specific goal, training for a race or simply trying to maintain your overall fitness, following a running plan is one of the most effective ways to keep your motivation levels piquing, especially a dedicated winter maintenance plan. From keeping you accountable with structured workouts to committing you psychologically to a consistent schedule, helping you stay injury-free to making your runs that much more hassle-free and convenient, there’s something incredibly motivating about having a personalized running plan that’s been created by experts specifically for you.
Do A Pre-Run Warm-Up
The cold doesn’t feel so cold when you’re already warm, so use that to your advantage before each run. Get up, move around and get your blood pumping just enough that your body warm’s up while still indoors. Jog on the spot as you make your morning shake, run up and down the stairs for a few minutes, bust out your favorite yoga poses or rush through your chore-list double time -- anything to get your body warm without breaking too much of a sweat. Get into the habit of doing a pre-run warm-up and you won’t just feel motivated to get your jog on, you’ll want to get outside just to feel the cool air. Check out this warm up routine to get you started.
Never Forget Your Motivation
There’s always a reason people start running. Always. The buzz from setting a new PB. To de-stress at the end of a long day. Raise money for charity as you gear up for a marathon. To become a happier, healthier, fitter version of yourself. For your mental health. There’s always something that makes you get up, lace up and go for a run. Whatever your reasons for running are, remind yourself of them. Remember the reasons you got into running in the first place. Do that and you’ll find no amount of cold, gloomy days can dampen your motivation. Sign up for that event you’ve always wanted or have a look for winter events to give you something to work towards at, checkout Limelight and RunThrough Events!
Join A Community of Runners
Solo-runs are a vibe of their own. The freedom to run wherever your feet take you, at your own pace, that running playlist thudding away in your ears as you change up your route just to see where that street takes you. Solo-runs are just you against you. But there’s a reason we host monthly running events and that’s the spirit a community adds. The encouragement, the motivation, the chance to meet you people, cheer on each other’s successes, learn about new events and make those cold winter runs feel a lot more appealing as you and your buddies match pace alongside each other, leaving fresh footprints in the frost behind you. That’s what a community of runners brings.