6 Tips for Staying Motivated to Run in the Winter

Last winter was a disaster for me. I couldn’t get motivated, I couldn’t get out the door, and my training really suffered. This winter, I have been much more successful, so I wanted to share my tips for staying motivated and in shape during the colder months of the year.

wearing sunglasses

  1. Sign up for a winter or spring race. Nothing motivates you to get out the door like dishing out cash and having something on the calendar to work towards.
  2. Run before work or during the day, if possible. This has probably been the biggest change between this year and last year. This year, I work completely for myself, so I have the flexibility to run during the day when it is light out and warmer. I also have more energy in the middle of the day vs. trying to go out after a solid workday.
  3. Mix it up in the gym. There are several options for staying in shape that don’t involve the treadmill, such as the stationary bike, the elliptical machine, swimming, or a cardio class. I’ve gotten in to swimming this winter, and it’s been a ton of fun (as well as a full body workout!).
  4. Work out with a friend. If someone is counting on you to meet them at the gym or for a run, you are far more likely to meet that commitment. It’s much easier to make excuses for yourself than to your accountability buddy.
  5. Get cold weather gear. This is another big one for me. I hate being cold. This year, I’ve stocked up on cold weather gear and have been able to stay warm during my runs, which makes me WAY more likely to get out there. See my guide to winter running post for more tips about layering and staying warm while you run.
  6. Don’t try to stay in peak physical condition. For me, the winter is a time to build my base and keep my conditioning. If I gain something, even better, but my main focus is not to lose anything, so I can start up again in the spring when the weather is warmer.

2 responses to “6 Tips for Staying Motivated to Run in the Winter

  1. Hey Abbie,
    It is always impressive to see how great trail/ultra runners are at resolving issues with their training. Great job

    What do you do for a living?

    • Thanks Adam! It’s not easy! I am an in-home developmental interventionist for kids birth-3 years with special needs, a freelance writer, and I’m launching a life coaching business – all things that luckily allow me to create my own schedule (mostly).

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