As a kid, I used to LOVE snow. I grew up along the lake effect snow belt in Ohio. It was theee best when you went to bed with no snow on the ground, only to wake up to a foot of fresh powder and pretty snowflakes falling from the sky. Oh, and school cancelled, of course!
Now that I’m all grown up and the mythical Snow Day has been snatched from existence, just like Santa Claus, my love for snow has dwindled. Not only do I have to drive in this stuff (i.e., dodge all the people who can’t drive in the snow), but now I have to find a way to stay motivated to work out in it, so I can eat, drink and be merry stay healthy all winter.
Alas, here I am, in Wisconsin, land of beer and cheese and snow and bitterly cold wind. Over the last couple years, I’ve run during snowstorms; I’ve run during monsoon-like winds; I’ve run in temperatures topping out in the mere teens. I’ve run with YakTrax (spikes) on the bottom of my shoes, so I can prance along snowy, icy sidewalks and streets. I’ve run when other sane folks are only outside because they have to snowblow two feet of snow out of their driveway, and they look at me like I’m a nutjob.
(They may be right.)
Are you dreading cold weather runs in the snow, and finding it’s hard to get your butt out the door to go work out? Well, you’re in luck!
Here are eight of my tips and tricks for staying motivated to run and work out during the winter months.
1. Good Ol’ Fashioned Self-Bribery
Reward yourself for facing the arctic conditions that any normal human would cower against. Get yourself some new (warm) workout gear, new shoes, a sweet treat, hot cocoa…you could even set aside a few bucks in a jar every time you complete a workout and spring for a BIG reward. Whatever it is, paying yourself back with some sort of incentive to get out there can help.
2. Sign Up for a Winter Race
Turkey Trots and Santa Runs can help keep you motivated for the next month or two. Or, sign up for an early spring race, and your training schedule will demand training time over the winter months. Having a goal race to train for—and a set training schedule for it—is one of the best motivators to get out the door.
3. Join a Running Club
My bah-humbug motivation savior! Find a running club, or even just a friend or two, and set concrete plans to run together at least once or twice a week. Knowing someone is planning, and waiting, to meet you will make you less likely to flake on a workout.
4. Go Streaking
Not for the faint of heart: Join the Runner’s World 2013 Holiday Streak and run at least 1 mile per day from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s. Will you win anything? No. Will it be awesome? Yes. I am going to go streaking myself!
5. Enjoy a Post-Run Warm-Up
Have hot cocoa or tea ready to heat up when you get back. Or, hop in a warm bath or shower to relax & de-stinkify. You might not want to get out.
6. Remember: Cold > Hot
When you think it’s too cold out to run, think of all the days you had to run in the sun, in 90 degree (or more) heat, and ridiculous humidity. Cold is oh-so-much better to run in than the heat.
7. Try a New Workout
Okay, so you’re not going to get outside. It’s just not gonna happen. Take these few months to try new workout classes or pick up some cross-training. Sign up for a spin class, yoga, Pilates, TRX, CrossFit, bootcamp—the possibilities are endless. Don’t think you’ll even want to leave your home? I like to hibernate, too. Get P90X or other fitness DVDs to do in front of your own TV, or find workouts online to do at home, no equipment required.
8. You’ll Be a Bad Ass
If you continue to run throughout the winter, even in snow and below-freezing temperatures, you’re kind of like the Super Hero of runners. Everyone wants to do it, but only a select few will really stick with it. You, my friend, will be a Bad Ass.* And as such, you’ll feel a little lighter, a little faster, and a lot more awesome come springtime.
*To non-runners, you will be a Crazy Ass. Proceed with caution.
What are your tips for staying motivated during the winter months?
Do you find it harder to get outside and run, or it’s just like any other time of year for you?