Nov 13, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 11/13/2013
It's starting to feel like the holiday season with decorations popping up in shopping centers, daylight savings time, and the chilly temperatures. We just got hit with a cold front, and it's now bone-chilling cold! As the temperature dips below freezing, my motivation to go outside to run follows suit. Here's a graph to illustrate my motivation as a function of temperature:
© Run Fast Eat Lots
As you can see, motivation plummets once it's below freezing. Like this morning. 28 degrees and I did not feel like going outside to run.

During the winter, it's easy to hole up indoors where it's warm instead of braving the icy wind and snow. Combined with indulging in extra servings of pie over the holidays (because I totally deserve it), it's easy to put on the pounds and lose fitness over the holidays. I've already succumbed to the pie; I made one last Thursday and basically ate the entire thing on my own. 

But even though this time of the year is kind of an off-season for me, I want to keep my fitness level up. I'm not really training for anything, yet, so it's hard to stay motivated sometimes. Here are some tips to stay motivated to work out this winter:

1. Invest in some winter running clothes. Dressing properly for the weather makes a huge difference and being outside less painful. Hats, warm running tights, gloves, and sweat-wicking base layers are winter running essentials. Make sure that your core is warm; vests are a great option. 

2. Plan your route so you can drop layers mid-run. Run a few miles to warm up, and then loop by your house to drop the warmer layers. That way, you can stay at a comfortable temperature throughout your run.

3. Hit the gym or indoor swim center. Sometimes it's just too darn cold to run outside. Strength training and cross training is important for runners, so take indoor training as an opportunity to focus on that. 

4. Invest in your home gym. Or if you have some neglected equipment, use it during the winter! I don't have a gym membership (yet), but have a decent home gym with free weights, medicine balls, a balance ball, and a lot more stuff that I don't really use. Insanity and P90X workouts are great, and I usually do them when I'm not running or cycling. 
My gym is in my basement, and the workout area is covered with an interlocking equipment mat to protect the floor. It's better than working out on a hardwood floor since it's softer and a bit springy. You can find some mats here on Amazon.

5. And finally, the best way to stay motivated is to sign up for another race! This definitely works for me, as it gives me a goal to work towards. My only upcoming race is a Turkey Trot, but I'm on the lookout for more races in the near future.


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