Although many people start off January with resolutions to exercise more and focus on healthy habits in the new year, winter doldrums can get in the way. When it’s cold and snowy (or sleeting, or icy, or just plain gray and gloomy) it can be tough to find the motivation to get up and moving.
Pretty but chilly!
I am one of those crazy runners who gets outdoors no matter the weather. Rain or shine, I can be found in the park or on the trail. I think there were 3 days in all of last winter when I went to the gym for a workout – and I still got in 4-5 runs every week! So far this winter, I’ve been able to keep it up, and haven’t been forced onto the dreadmill yet. But it took awhile for me to get into the habit, and even more time to enjoy the time I spend running outside in all kinds of conditions. So I thought I’d share a few tips to jump-start winter workouts!
…ready to hit the snowy streets!
First, make a habit of getting outdoors unless conditions are truly unsafe. Make a promise to yourself to get outside and have all the proper gear for winter weather set and ready to go in the morning. That way, when the alarm clock goes off, you’ll be more likely to get up and at ’em – after all, you’ve already prepared and won’t want to waste the effort!
Second, ensure you have enough time to get in a workout before your day begins, and treat the time you have as, well, a treat! I think of my run as something I ‘get’ to do before doing all the things for school and my internship (and eventually my job) that I ‘have’ to do. It’s a little thing, but the way you perceive it can make all the difference.
Breakfast at the ready
Third, have everything ready to go at your house or apartment for when you return – clothes for the day laid out, breakfast supplies ready and easy to assemble, and your bag packed so you can get back out the door quickly. This morning, my run was pretty chilly, but knowing I had a couple of Pumpkin Puffins and a mug of dark and sweet blueberry coffee at home kept me going!
Taking trail conditions in stride
Having a few friends to run with is another great option – I try to do my long runs when training for a race with a friend or two, and workout buddies can definitely keep you accountable. Personally, my motivation for running (like my motivation for most other things in life) tends to come from within. I’m not the type of person who likes to follow a set training plan to the letter (probably because I’m not really big on following directions…as evidenced by some of my cooking experiments!) But if you do better when you have a schedule to stick to, by all means use one. And even if you tend to march to your own beat like me, having just one workout every week with others to mix it up and keep you honest can be just what you need to shake out of the winter blues (I’m happy that a friend led me to the November Project for this reason!)
Last but not least, if you’re goal-oriented, signing up for a race every so often if you’re a runner, or setting specific bars for yourself to reach with other workouts, can be the perfect thing to spur you on. Just as I’m wound down from the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, it’s time to start getting in gear for my second New York City Half Marathon in March (also the second anniversary of my ‘real’ running!) After that, I’ll take a break from racing as law school ends and the bar exam approaches…but yesterday, I signed up to complete my Coast to Coast Challenge with a friend from school at Disneyland in September with the Dumbo Double Dare. It’s a perfect post-bar-exam celebration and dreaming of that magical run in the sun is sure to keep us both going during the shortest and coldest month of the year. So figure out what works for you, and get ready to wake up to a winter workout in wonderland!
Watching the sun rise over the East River is a lovely perk of a winter’s morning workout!
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