ASICS FrontRunner Jani du Toit talks us through how she keeps motivated to run through winter.
These are her words:
I'm sure you have noticed the sun setting earlier and the mornings starting later getting colder, and the realization sets in that winter is on its way.
As the winter season sets in and the temperatures drop, it can be challenging to maintain motivation in pursuing your running goals. The allure of staying warm indoors can make it tempting to skip those cold, dark runs. However, with the right mindset and some practical strategies, you can stay motivated and continue progressing towards your running goals, even during the coldest months of the year. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated during winter running:
- Set realistic and flexible goals: During the winter, it's essential to set realistic goals that take into account the challenges of running in colder weather. Adjust your expectations and focus on maintaining your fitness level rather than trying to achieve personal bests. Be flexible with your training schedule to accommodate inclement weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances. By setting achievable goals, you'll maintain a sense of accomplishment and stay motivated throughout the winter season.
- Dress appropriately: One of the primary concerns for winter running is staying warm without overheating. Invest in proper running gear designed for cold weather, such as moisture-wicking and insulating clothing. Dress in layers to adapt to changing temperatures and remove or add clothing as needed. Don't forget to protect your extremities with gloves, a hat, and warm socks. When you're comfortable and adequately dressed, the cold weather won't be as much of a deterrent to your motivation.
- Find a running buddy or join a group: Running with a partner or joining a running group can provide a significant boost to your motivation during the winter months. Having someone to share your running experience with can make it more enjoyable and hold you accountable. Coordinate your schedules, set regular running dates, and encourage each other to stay committed. The support and camaraderie of a running buddy or group will help you stay motivated, even when the weather is less than ideal.
- Modify your running routine: If running outdoors becomes extremely challenging due to harsh weather conditions, consider modifying your running routine without giving up on your goals. You can explore alternatives such as running on a treadmill at home or joining a gym with an indoor track. These options offer a controlled environment and allow you to continue training despite the cold weather. Alternatively, try other aerobic activities like indoor cycling, swimming, or fitness classes to maintain your cardiovascular fitness while giving your body a break from outdoor running.
- Embrace the winter scenery: Instead of dreading the winter weather, embrace the unique beauty it offers. Running in a winter wonderland can be a refreshing and invigorating experience. Take the opportunity to explore scenic routes covered in snow, admire the frosty landscapes, and breathe in the crisp air. The change of scenery can inject a renewed sense of enthusiasm into your running routine, making it easier to stay motivated and appreciate the beauty of the season.
- Reward yourself: Set up a system of rewards to celebrate your achievements and milestones along the way. Give yourself small rewards after completing a challenging run, reaching a specific distance, or achieving a personal goal. These rewards can be as simple as enjoying a hot cup of cocoa, taking a relaxing bath, or treating yourself to a new piece of running gear. The prospect of a reward can serve as a powerful motivator and keep you focused during the winter months.
Maintaining motivation in your running goals during the winter season may require some adjustments and a determined mindset. By setting realistic goals, dressing appropriately, finding a running buddy or group, modifying your routine, appreciating the winter scenery, and rewarding yourself, you can overcome the challenges and stay motivated throughout the cold season. Remember, the winter months can be an opportunity for growth, resilience, and embracing new experiences in your running journey.
Stay motivated, stay dedicated, and enjoy the experience for what it is.