Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How to Stay Motivated in the Winter

This post seems a little hypocritical because only three days into our marathon training we already skipped a run, but we had a good reason. I still am not feeling 100% so rather than risk it we decided to cut out one of our 5 milers this week. Plus, we are running 5 days a week this time rather than 4, so it's not too bad.

Last week I asked on my blog's Facebook page, which if you haven't liked yet you should, for blog post ideas.  When we aren't racing all the time I am at a loss for what to blog about, only half joking!

Someone suggested that I write a blog post on how to stay motivated during the cold, snowy winter months.  I am going to answer this from a runner/triathlete's perspective, but I'm sure that it will be applicable to other activities as well.

We all have days when we would rather stay in bed or sit on the couch under blankets and avoid the cold, snowy, windy, rainy weather outside during the months of October-April (in Rochester at least). Combine that with the holiday season and you have a potential disaster on your hands. Running (or swimming and biking) could be put on the back burner and before you know it you haven't run in weeks.

Here are some tips to help you stay motivated, and not succumb to the lure of your warm bed.

Start Training for a Race or Race in General

Last winter was the first winter that Mike and I were runners, we were lucky that it was an unusually mild winter (I think it snowed five times, maybe) but there were still times when we didn't want to go running.  We had signed up for the Freezeroo Series, a local winter series with races every two weeks, so that forced us to stay in shape. 

We did the New Year's race this year, and we will probably sign up for one or two more of the races as they fit with our training.

Mike finishing up our New Year's day race

 Near the end of the race

This winter we will be training for our second marathon and we are going to have to brave the elements whether we want to or not. 

Change up Your Workouts

As a triathlete this is easy, if it is really snowing badly (and no, I will not run on a treadmill) we can either swim or bike instead.  We just got a new bike trainer from Mike's parents for Christmas and I can't wait to use it. 

 Swimming is fun too!

If you really can't handle the elements, then the winter might be a great time to try something new: a new workout DVD, a new treadmill workout, a new group fitness class at your gym, etc. Last year I tried turbo kick, and while I only did it once I had a lot of fun.  This year I want to try cross country skiing or snowshoeing, hopefully we can!
Workout with Friends

Scheduled running dates with your friends make it harder for you to bail on your workout.  This happened to me on Sunday since Mike and I were going running with our friend Amber.  I wasn't feeling great but I still enjoyed the company.  I am looking forward to running with our friends more often this winter.

Dress the Part

When you have the right gear for winter running, or other activities, it can make the temperature bearable (and you may even get too hot like me).  

 Yaktrax rock

If you live in an area where you get a lot of snow, you might want to invest in some snowshoes or Yaktrax (depending on where you run).  Mike and I both have a pair of Yaktrax and they work great, and give you the extra traction that you need to get your run in.

If that isn't enough, then maybe Bernie can give you some motivation:

 The snow is FUN!

Any other tips for staying motivated during the winter?


  1. Awesome tips, Jamie!!!! You're amazing for continuing to get out there and kickass in the snow!

  2. If I lived somewhere cold, I'm pretty sure that I'd live on the treadmill. Anything under 50 and I'm freezing my tush off!

  3. Nice ideas! The biggest thing that keeps me going in the winter months is meeting a friend. Knowing someone else is waiting for me always gets me there. ;)

  4. I love all these tips. I thought of you today when I hit the treadmill. ;) Goodness I hate the treadmill. I almost biked instead but forced myself onto the dreadmill. It is definitely my absolute last resort.

    I still giggle at that picture of Bernie.

    Someone said to me,"You're running a marathon in the winter?! You're hardcore." I thought,"Nope just dumb." HAHA!!!

    I knew that registering for this race would definitely keep me running during these cold, dark New England winters.

    1. Haha I know, Bernie is hilarious sometimes! You need to meet him :)

  5. Signing up for a race or event is key! When the weather is less than ideal, it makes skipping a workout seem much more appealing, but having a goal race in mind helps you remain accountable. I'm with you, Jamie--I refuse to run on the dreadmill, and I love having the option of swimming or biking instead! Also, this is the first time I'm training with teammates since my collegiate bball days, and knowing people are counting on you to show up for a workout makes it much more fun. :)

  6. Definitely signing up for a race! And incorporating workouts indoors helps too...such as swimming and strength training!

  7. Great tips Jamie! The hardest part for me is the cold. I know I will be fine after the first mile or two, but it's starting that's the hard part:)

    1. I'm lucky that I warm up almost immediately but it will be interesting to see how I do the next couple of days since it will be colder than it has been.

  8. I agree...changing up the workouts definitely helps keep me motivated! Have a great weekend Jamie!

  9. Signing up for a spring race is a great motivator for me. I'm going to re-read these when we're living in the northeast again! It's really not too hard in the south. :)

    1. Definitely! And let me know when you do move back, so we can try to meet up!

  10. I love snow, but not for running! But I definitely find motivation to workout since my friends are less social in the winter.

  11. I really admire you for running through the snow.
    I worry that if I had not moved south and escaped the snow I would never have turned into a runner.

  12. Make sure you have your favorite tea, coffee or chocolate waiting for you when you get home!!! It's always a welcomed greeting!!!

  13. Bernie looks like he's a great playmate in the snow! I can't imagine what Lucky would do if he lost his tennis ball in the snow. It would be all out panic!