There's a reason they call the winter the off-season. The misery that becomes the outdoors zaps you of your motivation to train as you sit by a fireplace with a belly full of turkey and carbohydrates. The days get shorter and grow colder while you get lazier and grow fatter—it's not a fair trade off. But there are remedies for these winter doldrums. Here are eight tips to get your runs in, stay motivated, and flip that switch from the off-season to the on-season.
1. Run with Friends
Perhaps running in the brisk winter weather is a job for two or more people. Scheduling a run with friends is a great motivation tool. For those chilly mornings when running is the last thing on your mind, knowing someone is waiting for you will help keep you accountable and dedicated to staying active.
Another benefit to hitting the pavement with friends is helping push each other on those tempo runs or high-mileage days. And having some company on the road can also help pass the time.
2. Find a Local Running Club
Even if you can't find the ideal running partner among your friends or at work, there's a match service waiting in most cities and towns: running clubs.
Organized running clubs offer hosted group runs, pub runs and even track programs. This community is a great way to keep your training in check and get to know fellow runners in your area. If you can't find a local running club, check out a local running store. They sometimes host weekly runs and training programs as well.
3. Register for Multiple Races
Maybe you've already registered for a spring 10K or marathon, and you have your eye on the prize of crossing the finish line. But don't let that be the one and only race on your schedule. Filling up your race calendar this fall and winter is another great way to stay motivated to train weekly while taking advantage of those positive race vibes. It's also a great way to practice what works best for you on race day. From local Turkey Trots on Thanksgiving and festive holiday runs in December to races to roll in the New Year, your options are endless.
4. Get Your Gear On
Who doesn't love new stuff? If anything gets you outside this winter, those new gloves, headbands and running tights might do the trick. If your wallet allows for it, splurge on yourself with a little shopping spree to beef up your winter running wardrobe. Having all the latest fashions and technology will motivate you to look good, feel good and stay warm when hitting the road.
The latest fashion and technology not only looks good but keeps you warm, too. Be sure to invest in a headlamp and reflective vest if you're hitting the road at dark-thirty.