I don’t know about where you live, but right now we’re in the depths of winter in Calgary. It’s cold, there’s snow everywhere, and there isn’t much daylight. Regular activity can be tough during these times, so imagine what it takes to get outside running.
A lot of people ask me how I do it. How do I get out there when it’s frigid cold or snow storming? Most of the time, I’m not really sure. Part of me thinks I’m crazy, but I also know that I love running and I’m dedicated to staying fit or training no matter what the weather is like. So, I thought I would put together some tips about how I maintain my winter training when the weather gets tough or the winter blues hit. Hopefully these will help someone to get out the door to run, walk, cycle, etc too.
Having fun on a wintery day!
11 Tips to Get Your Butt Out the Door for Winter Training
– Have a spring/early summer goal. It really helps when I have a race goal for April or May to keep me going through the winter. I know that I need to stay dedicated to my training if I want to do well in a spring race.
– Run with friends or groups. I find this tough with scheduling and would like to run with groups more, but when we’re in the depths of winter I find it helpful to “suffer” with others for runs. Find a local group or encourage your runner friends to go out with you. Makes it so much easier when you have that support and you can also laugh at how ridiculous it seems to run in -20C (-4F) weather. 🙂
– Get awesome winter run gear. Yes, I realize we’re all probably on tight budgets, but you can search local shops or online for great deals on winter run gear. It really helps me get my butt out the door when I know that I have good gear that will keep me warm and toasty. On Boxing Day I found an awesome deal on a Lululemon run jacket that I just love now & then I also sold some stuff that I’m not using anymore and put that money towards a new neck gator and run mittens. It also helps when I get things in fun colours – need the brightness when the city is covered in snow.
– Have a support crew. This can be your friends, family, significant other, or online crew. Ask them for some support or motivation when you’re feeling low. Occasionally scanning social media causes me to be envious of others, but it also inspires me to get my butt out the door when I see people being active outdoors in even colder weather. You may need to block all those people who live in hot locations though… hahah.
– Have a mantra. Is there a certain mantra or quote that inspires you? Something you repeat to yourself when training gets tough? Well, keep that quote close to you. Put it in your journal. Put it on a post-it on your bathroom mirror. Or, wear it – such as my favourite mantra on my Momentum Jewelry Motivate Wrap. I often repeat “Earned, Not Given” to myself during training and during runs to keep me going. It’s surprisingly helpful!
– Have hot coffee/tea ready for when you finish your run. Seriously, somehow coffee tastes better after a long, cold run. It’s magic.
– Go easy on yourself and your pace. This one has been hard for me, but honestly you can’t try to do speed work in a few inches of snow. That’s risky. Just take it easy when you go out there and enjoy the fun of it all. Running in a snowstorm is a little silly, but if you take your time and don’t worry about pace it feels like you’re re-visiting your childhood and playing in the snow. I did this on Christmas Eve and it was so much fun!
– Remember you still have to hydrate. This is important. You may not be sweating as much, but you still have to carry water or Nuun on your long winter runs.
Do I look cold? 😉
– Change up your route if you can. Try to make notes about which routes are cleared more often or are bright and appear safe. Also, be ok if you have to alter routes a little bit. During the Christmas Eve snowstorm, I literally did circle laps around a few blocks of my neighbourhood because the snow was slightly cleared and I knew it would be a little safer that way. Boring? Maybe. But, I felt better about keeping it safe and closer to home.
– Don’t hate the treadmill. If the weather is completely insane, just be safe and go to the treadmill or indoor track. I am not a fan of the treadmill at all, but I also realize that when it’s -30C (-22F) or ice-storming outside, it’s better to take my workout inside. Try to have good music or Netflix for long treadmills runs to keep you interested. Or whatever helps you pass the time on the treadmill.
– Have fun. Maybe the most important tip! Just try to have fun. I suffer from the winter blues every year, so this is a tough one for me but also important to focus on. When I’m feeling down, I put on my 4 layers and get outside and just try to make the runs fun. This way I cheer up while I’m out there and then I can tackle the rest of my day.
What (or who) helps you to keep going during the winter months?