It is hard to believe that December is right around the corner especially when the temps right now feel a bit more like September than late November. But the cold weather is coming. Here are a few tips to stay motivated and upbeat even when the temperatures are low and the light is limited.
1. Keep your goals in mind.
Are you hoping to complete a spring race or notch a PR? Do you want to keep the typical holiday weight gain at bay? Would you like to be the happiest, sanest version of yourself? Whatever your goal (or goals) for this particular training period, keep them in mind. This one action will do more to keep you going when the weather may stink.
2. Enter small, local races.
Entering a smaller race can keep you inspired. You can practice different racing strategies, use it as your speedwork or just decide to run for fun with friends and family. I personally love the races that the Colorado Masters Running Association puts on every month. You can drop in and race a well-managed event with a range of distances and courses. The best part? As a member of CMRA, you race for free! Sure there’s no race shirt but overall and age group winners are acknowledged. Plus, the prize drawings are the best.
3. Enlist running buddies.
Nothing makes me get out of bed on a cold, dreary morning than knowing my running buddies are going to be waiting for me. I have all kinds of running friends – some are more serious than others but I always end up getting exactly what I need from each run. The bottom line is running buddies hold you accountable.
4. Get the right equipment.
Winter running means slick roads and snowy trails. While a solid pair of trail shoes can work wonders, you may need more. Traction is important whether you have YakTrax or screws in your shoes, you will be thankful when you find yourself slipping. Keeping your core warm and dry is key. On a particularly cold day, you may want to start with a long-sleeved shirt, a quarter-zip and top that with a windproof jacket. On the bottom, you can try leggings with a more windproof layer over them. If you begin to get warm, you can open zippers and discard layers to better moderate your temperature. And don’t forget a winter hat, neck gaiter and a pair of gloves.
Running in the winter can be beautiful, fun and rewarding. You just have to be prepared.