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How to Stay Motivated Until Spring

How to Stay Motivated Until Spring

January, the month with approximately 2496 days in it is finally over, February is here. Spring is tantalisingly close, yet we still have one of the coldest months to get through before we can really start thinking about warmer, brighter days. At this time of year, this question crops up a lot; how to keep motivation for running going through winter? It’s dreary, freezing, often wet, usually dark and sometimes icy.  None of this is conducive to dragging yourself out of a snug cosy bed to pull your trainers on and get out of the front door.  So how can we keep the enthusiasm going? 

 

January sees a lot of people inspired to exercise more. The excesses of Christmas are long over, you’ve brushed the last of the mince pie crumbs from your jumper and drained the last drop of Irish cream liquor from the bottle.  Time to get active again!  Perhaps you have set a New Year’s resolution to improve your fitness, maybe you have a spring marathon to train for or are taking part in a campaign like RED January.  However, as the month of January has drawn to a close, that initial fervour for fitness can start to wane, expensive gym membership’s lapse and trainers may start to gather dust.   

 

The truth is, although winter may feel like a challenging time to train, it’s actually the perfect season to push through those barriers and form some really good habits that will see you right all the way through to spring and summer. Here at RUNR, we’ve compiled a few tips and ideas that help us to keep running over winter and thought we would share them with our community.   

  1. Have a plan: whether it be from a coach, an online resource or worked out on your own, having something in writing can really help you to feel accountable and organised.  You might even like to tick your workouts and runs off as you complete them and add a few notes so you can look back and see what you have achieved. Having sessions planned in advance takes away the effort of having to devise a session on the day, but also makes it harder to just change your mind about going because it’s too dark/wet/cold/icy/tiring – you’ve made yourself accountable. Feel free to download our free Mileage Trackers each month which you can use plan your runs.

  2. Get motivated: whether it be inspirational quotes in your training plan or songs on a playlist that really get you wanting to move, positive cues like this can help keep the negative vibes away. Be sure to check out the 4 Spotify playlists we created through nominations by the running community.

  3. Be realistic: if you’re going from being fairly sedentary to deciding to taking up running, attempting something like running every day for a month is no mean feat. Some people find a challenge like this a real motivator but for others it can turn running into a painful chore. The official RED January campaign is actually about being active everyday as opposed to specifically just running. So if this campaign is your goal maybe try to mix it up with walking, cycling, swimming, yoga or whatever else floats your boat.  That way, you are more likely to continue these great habits into the months to come.   

  4. Find your niche: are you an early bird or a night owl?  If you are usually at your most productive in the mornings, then early morning runs are probably better for you and you will be less inclined to skip them than if you wait until the end of the day.  For all those night owls out there, forcing yourself out of a nice warm bed in the dark before work might prove too off-putting.  A run after work in the evening instead to clear your head might be just the ticket.  

  5. Be prepared: whether you prefer to run in the morning or the evening, have all your kit laid out ready to put on. Make sure your shoes are nice and dry from any previous runs as there is nothing worse than having to pull on cold soggy trainers. 

  6. Go shopping: having the right kit for the conditions is vital. There is nothing more soul destroying than sliding around on muddy trails or icy roads in inappropriate footwear whilst getting soaked to the skin in your t-shirt and shorts in a force 10 gale. You certainly don’t need to spend a fortune, but investing in the right gear for before, during and after your run will make the whole experience a lot more bearable.

  7. Get cooking: running after work in the evening can mean some fairly late finishes. Likewise, running in the morning before work can squeeze the time you have to get ready.  Post-exercise nutrition is so important so getting this right is key. Batch cooking a couple of meals for the freezer that you can easily heat up for tea is a great idea.  For breakfasts, something like overnight oats which can be made the night before your run can be a real saviour.  

  8. Make friends: running with friends or joining a local club is a fantastic motivator. Just knowing that there is an organised group on a set day and time each week can really help you to get out of the door.

  9. Remember, this is meant to be fun: whatever your reason for running, it’s going to be hard to stick at your plan if you are hating every minute of it! Try and work out what isn’t working for you and tweak things accordingly. 

Happy running!

Ruth Keeley AKA @fellrunlikeagirl

Team runr.