Endure Run Conquer

Patience. Persistence. Perseverance.

Tag: Motivation

How to Beat the Winter (Running) Blues

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Living in Chicago can be tough weather-wise, especially during the winter months. There are only a few runners I know who truly embrace the cold, rather than simply put up with it. The bitter cold and dark, combined with the lack of sunshine, truly makes getting my butt out the door extremely difficult. I have found that February is the worst for me. I am able to maintain some sort of motivation in November (as I am often still coming down from the high of my fall marathon training) and December. Right around when my motivation starts waning, New Years resolutions give me a renewed sense of purpose. However, by the time February hits I am ready for spring.

There are a few things that I have found help me to stick with my training schedule during the winter months.

  1. Dress Appropriately 

What it means to “dress appropriately” can be different for everyone. Admittedly, I am always cold and tend to overdress. However, certain things should be non-negotiable for any runner once the temperatures start to drop.  When I left for my run yesterday morning it was 12 degrees. I left the house wearing two tanks, a long sleeve top, jacket, warm socks, two layers of gloves (my hands are the worst), an ear warmer, and a neck gaiter. I actually think I may have been a little overdressed (there was no wind) but I was comfortable, if not borderline hot, the entire time.

Other pro-tips: I cannot stand cold water during the winter, so I drink a cup of decaf tea during my drive to the run to hydrate. I also love using Hot Hands during those runs where it is really cold (and not only in my gloves — I will also stick them in my sports bra to keep my core warm).

      2.  Set a Goal 

Signing up for a race is always a good motivator. As the spring racing season creeps up, signing up and setting a goal is a great way to stay motivated and to force yourself out the door. If you feel like you are in a slump – find a coach to take your training to the next level. Accountability is key!

      3.  Get Creative With Your Training

Until I joined CrossFit, I was horrible about cross training (see above discussing accountability). The winter months can be the perfect time to try new things — yoga, spinning, swimming, CrossFit — the options are endless. It’s perfectly okay to back off the mileage during the winter (or any time that your body needs a break for that matter)! Trying other activities also helps the body to stay healthy as it wakes up muscles you aren’t necessarily used to engaging and gives other muscles a rest.

      4.  Create Treadmill Workouts

I don’t love the treadmill, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil.  Especially now having a newborn, the time that I have to workout can be unpredictable. If I run a steady pace on the treadmill I will undoubtedly become bored in minutes. Instead, I play games with myself. Most often, I will bump up the pace after a certain amount of time and work my way up and back down for the duration of my run. For example, after a warm-up, I will start at 6.6 for .1 miles and bump it up a notch every .1 miles (or .25 miles or .5miles or however I am feeling that day). I will then either start over or go back down the ladder. I have found that because my mind stays engaged the run goes by much faster.

How do you stay motivated during the winter? 

How to Tuesday – How to Stay Motivated

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Staying motivated can be tough. It’s easy to be excited when everything is going according to plan, but that feeling often fades quickly as soon as the novelty of training wears off or injuries start creeping up.

Personally, I know that my motivation levels also seem to correspond with the hours of daylight. During spring and early summer I pop out of bed as soon as the sun starts peaking through my windows and I (usually) have no problem getting myself out the door in the morning. As it starts getting lighter later and darker earlier, my willingness to get out of bed (or maintain productivity later in the day) becomes much more short lived. The weather also plays a major factor for me. In the spring and early summer the warm days are a welcome break from the never ending winter that we experience here in Chicago. However, by late August my ability to tolerate the constant 95% humidity levels has also started to wane.

I think that this year has been a *little* easier to stay motivated because of the Olympics (because seriously, how can someone not be inspired by Meb’s finish line push ups). But now that the Olympics are over and fall racing season is upon us, it’s time to start thinking about other ways to keep the motivation levels up.

  1. Change Up Your Routine – This is one of the easiest ways to stay motivated but often times is the hardest to execute. Are you running the same routes (at the same time) every day?  Are you running the same mileage and workouts week after week? Most of us are, so it’s no wonder that running is going to get boring (there are only so many loops that one can do around their neighborhood). Stop making excuses and change it up (and don’t overthink it)! If your schedule isn’t flexible enough to change the time of day you run an921aa5ea5e9ab43a80001a79b131b666d you don’t have time to run anywhere but your neighborhood – run your route in the opposite direction. Run randomly down different streets. Instead of running the same distance every day, split up runs or break up the mileage differently across the week. Little changes will go a long way to breaking up the monotony.
  2. Join a Running Club – I’ve said this many times, but joining a running club is one of the best ways to keep motivated. Not only does meeting with other runners provide great conversation (all normal societal standards are off when it comes to conversations during runs) but also helps you to share in the goals and accomplishments of like-minded people. Find a running club near you by checking out the RRCA Website.
  3. Experiment With New Gear – I am addicted to running gear. I own more running clothing than I do regular clothing (and still seem to always be needing more). While I don’t advocate buying a whole new running wardrobe every time you don’t feel like going for a run, sometimes a new top or pair of headphones is enough to make you want to get out the door.
  4. Read Inspirational Books or Watch Motivating Videos. You don’t have time? (Dare I ask how much time have you spent on Facebook today?!?) Personally, the book Born to Run always gives me a spark of renewed energy whenever I start feeling like I am in a rut. Don’t want to read a book? Check out Runner’s World’s 101 Kicks in the Butt or Aimages-1rnold’s Six Secrets to Success
  5. Set a New Goal. If you aren’t training for a race, think about adding one to your schedule. If you’re burned out from racing (or constantly training) challenge yourself to try something different. If you’re always running marathons – think about doing a relay or an obstacle  course run (or think about working with someone else to help them meet their goals!)

What do you do to stay motivated? 

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