As winter well and truly sets in and the temperatures drop, the temptation to snuggle under a cosy blanket with a hot drink can often overpower the motivation to lace up your running shoes. Combine this with the aftermath of a Christmas period full of over-indulgence and a break from regular workouts, and you might find getting back into the running groove proves a bit of a challenge.
If you’re not exactly filled with ‘New year, new you’ inspiration, we can guarantee you’re not alone. But fear not! In this blog post, we’ll explore some effective ways to motivate yourself to hit the pavement during the chilly winter months.
1) Set realistic goals
Establishing attainable targets is the key to success – and to not feeling like a failure before you’ve even really got started.
Understand the unique challenges that the season brings, and tailor your objectives accordingly. Instead of focusing solely on speed or distance, consider setting goals related to consistency and enjoyment. Whether it’s running three times a week or trying out a new scenic route, setting achievable targets will make the prospect of winter running less daunting.
2) Invest in quality winter gear
Comfort is key when running, and never more so than in winter. Investing in high-quality winter running gear can make it so much easier to get outside when the temperatures drop.
Layer up with moisture-wicking base layers, insulating mid-layers, and wind-resistant outer shells. And don’t forget about accessories like gloves, a beanie, a snood and thermal socks to keep your extremities warm.
When you’re comfortable and protected from the elements, a winter run becomes a much more enjoyable experience.
3) Find a running buddy
Running with a friend can make even the coldest days more bearable and gives you that added reason not to cancel.
If you don’t know anyone locally – or just can’t find anyone else crazy enough to get out in the cold – Virtual Runner can help.
Our Facebook community provides the camaraderie of a running buddy without geographical limitations.
Share your winter running goals, progress, and experiences with fellow Virtual Runners to stay connected and motivated, no matter where you are or the distance between you.
4) Create a warming playlist
Music has the power to elevate your mood and your energy levels, making it an invaluable tool for winter running motivation.
Create a playlist filled with upbeat tunes that resonate with your running pace.
Try adding songs that remind you of past holidays. The right music can distract from the cold, boost your motivation, and transport you to sunnier climes.
Alternatively, stick on your favourite podcast or audiobook and let it distract you from reality. The time will pass before you know it!
5) Enter a Virtual Runner challenge
Break up the monotony of your winter runs and give yourself a concrete target to aim towards.
Virtual races are great for this. The prospect of earning a nice shiny medal could be just what you need to get you braving the cold instead of staying in to finish off those left-over Christmas chocolates.
Why not get involved in our Monthly Challenge Series for 2024? When you sign up in (or before) January you receive a medal frame (sent alongside your first piece once you complete your January mileage) with 12 slots and can then challenge yourself to complete either 25k, 50k, 75k, 100k, 150k or 200k during each month of the year. You could even opt for the personalised distance to set your own goals! Once you’ve completed your goal for that month you receive a magnetic piece to stick on to you frame. This challenge has been running a number of years now and our community members find it really motivating to keep going each month and build that HUGE medal!
6) Set a morning routine
It might not be quite as easy during January and February as it is in the sunny summer months, but there’s something special about getting outside in time to witness those first rays of light coming up over the horizon.
Starting your day with a run not only ensures you get your workout in before you get distracted but it means you can feel smug all day, knowing that you’ve already got those miles in.
7) Celebrate small wins
Every step taken, especially during the winter months, is a triumph.
Be kind to yourself and focus on what you did do, rather than what you didn’t do, and celebrate those achievements.
Whether it’s completing a challenging route, running consistently for a week, or achieving a personal best, treat yourself to a warm drink, a relaxing bath, or any other small reward that makes you feel good.
Positive reinforcement goes a long way in sustaining motivation.