Getting motivated to run outside when it’s cold, windy, raining, snowing, icy or all of the above is no easy task — especially when it’s so nice inside. But we all know once we’re moving and the brisk air hits our face (stings our toes, bites our nose), we’ll likely be invigorated and glad we got outside for a run.
Here are a few ways to make getting out the door a little less daunting:
The more accessible everything is, the fewer excuses you’ll have to skip your outdoor run. In that spirit, keep your cold weather gear handy, perhaps even by your door. And set up a space for your gloves, hat, balaclava and jacket to hang-dry. Get a shoe dryer and set it up right by the door as well, so that when you get back from a run, your shoes can start drying out immediately. Consider having newspaper handy to stuff in your shoes to help them dry.
KEEP IT SHORT
Negative temperatures aren’t the time for long, slow-distance runs. Instead, use frigid days to focus on short, quality workouts and hard efforts. You’ll stay warmer, and you’ll spend less time in the cold. Let’s face it, it’s easier to convince yourself to get out for 45 minutes than for 2 hours.
ENLIST A BUDDY
Having friends to run with can make harsh conditions more bearable — even on the chilliest of days. If you don’t have a crew, ask around at your local running shop or gym and try to find a few like-minded runners. This might even be the season to get your bestie back out on the trails!
HIT THE TRAILS
Speaking of trails, road running in blustery, freezing temperatures can be downright awful — and with drivers not expecting a runner out there, it can be a little dangerous. Look for trails, whether they’re towpaths or singletrack, and spend as much time on trail and off-road as possible. You’ll be safer, you’ll be more sheltered from the wind and running on trails can mentally be much more refreshing and fun than putting in miles on a slushy road.
One winter runner I know imagines her rival outside training in the bleakest of weather, just getting ready to crush the summer racing season. Another runner visualizes the best version of herself getting in that run, enjoying the hot shower and stretch session after, ticking another workout off of her training plan. Whatever visual gives you the biggest boost, think about that as you get ready to head outside.
KNOW WHEN TO STAY INSIDE
If it’s really terrible out and you’re worried for your safety, staying inside isn’t due to lack of motivation, it’s due to smart thinking. Still, if you decide you can’t possibly get out and train, don’t plop on the couch and catch up on your shows. Instead, use this time to tackle a task that often gets ignored, like cleaning out your gear closet or pantry or doing a yoga flow.
COMMIT TO A RACE
If you have a race date or a running vacation looming on the calendar, you’ll be a lot more motivated to stick to your running training plan. There are plenty of early season race options, and you won’t want to waste a running trip on just getting back into run shape.