The cold temperatures and darkness of winter have returned to irk runners, destroying their running motivation. Of course, running motivation is easy to find during the springtime, a season made for outdoor adventure with moderate temperatures and budding greenery. Though most would argue that autumn takes the number one spot for the best running season, spring is a close second. Let’s not forget the long list of races that take place once the holidays end.
But in winter, your alarm blares at 6 a.m., and the sun hasn’t yet ended the night. The prospect of leaving your cozy bed and lacing up your running shoes makes you groan.
Whether you run for fun or exercise, staying on top of your fitness during the coldest time of year is just as important. One thing’s for sure – running in winter beats having to get back into shape in spring. Nevertheless, we have some tips to keep up your exercise habits despite the dismal season, and they don’t involve giving up the outdoors in favor of the treadmill.
Gear to grind in
Investing in the proper winter gear ensures that you can brave the weather comfortably. Ditch your shorts in favor of running leggings and layer up. Being able to shed a couple of layers as you warm up makes it so that you start warm and stay warm without overheating.
A solid list of winter running gear includes warm socks (preferably waterproof), leggings, beanies or headbands, winter jackets and gloves. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident. Purchase fun clothes that make you want to hop out of bed instead of tumble. Cool patterns and bright colors often wake up your brain and help begin the day on a positive note.
Don’t stick to the same routine or route
We get it. You love to run a solid 5k along the water before work. But running the same route and keeping with the same running routine day after day can get tedious. Getting bored with your routine may also hurt your running motivation.
Switch up your route by exploring new territory. Head to that park you pass on your commute to work or run up that winding road you bomb down on your bike. Switch up your routine by incorporating a variety of runs. Head up some hills one morning, work on intervals or challenge yourself by running a 10k every now and then.
Prep a delicious breakfast the night before your run
You need fuel to run. So, why not make it a scrumptious and easy affair? Most people eat after their morning run, so you can make it a reward for your hard work. Put together some overnight oats with your favorite berries and nuts the night before your run. Have your favorite morning drink ready to go. Coffee? Tea? Matcha? Time to indulge. A morning of vigorous exercise and your favorite food and drink basically guarantees you’ll have a bones day.
Start a running posse
Running with a group often boosts your motivation, and also makes it a healthy social activity. Seasonal depression hits many of us when December and January shroud us in clouds and darkness. But consistently engaging with others can help push aside those feelings of isolation and sadness, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Women often struggle to maintain their running regimen when the sun rises later and sets earlier. Adding others to your group can improve safety and support. Lastly, having a group of runners waiting for you in the cold makes it more difficult to hit the snooze button. So, let your friends and running buddies keep you accountable!
Set a goal for the spring
Seek out a race in the spring and sign up for it. Whether you’re looking for a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon, the knowledge that you can’t put off training will get you up and out the door. By the time spring rolls around, running will be a breeze. At last, you can leave those extra layers at home!
Keep track of your progress
Keeping track of your progress is rewarding. Having your running data available can boost your confidence, help you stay on track for an upcoming race and more. Maybe you want a simple app to keep track of your route, time, speed and distance. In that case, Strava is for you. It’s basically Facebook for runners. You can add and follow your friends, family, co-workers and running competitors.
Add a fun component to your run
For those who need an additional fun component, check out Zombies, Run! Those who love video games or podcasts won’t want to stop running once they download this app. Zombies, Run! spices up your run by throwing you into a zombie apocalypse. You’ll gather supplies, rescue others and complete missions.
You can choose between a few functions, including GPS, treadmill running and step counting. The best part? You can listen to your own music. But keep an ear out for the moans of zombies approaching. That means you need to run faster!
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