Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Winter Blues: Take Two – Top 10 Ways to Stay Motivated to Run in the Cold Weather.

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday!

First let me tell you about last night's five mile progression run.  I try to do one of these at least once a week and last night was the night.  Despite the winds that were blowing, I was pretty pleased with my performance.  Remember, the goal of a progression run is to do the last few miles each progressively faster.  

Here's what I did:

The first 2 1/2 miles I completed in 19:02, which was approximately 7:37 pace.  Coming back, I covered the last 2 1/2 miles in 16:29 which takes me to a 35:31 finish.  My last mile was run in 6:30 pace.  Yay!

Here I am stretching after the run...my physical therapist would be proud!  I have to keep my hips and IT band stretched at all times...

On to the topic of the day...

I’ve been asked by several people the same question: “How do I stay motivated to run during the cold, dreary winter months" so I thought I would do a part two to yesterday's post.  Like Letterman, I have a Top 10 list of ways to stay motivated and moving all winter long, even when the temperatures are low and motivation is even lower.

10.  Running Buddy – Find someone to run with, even if it’s a day or two out of the week.  There’s nothing better than running with a friend while catching up on your daily lives.  Are you limited with time to meet up with someone like me?  Find someone to “CHAT” with about running.  Maybe there is a friend or coworker that you can share your goals, times, and running experiences with, even though you may not be hitting the pavement together.  

9.  Hit the treadmill with a good playlist on your iPod – The treadmill isn’t necessarily for me, but on the rare occasion that I do run on one, I make sure my iPod is fully charged and ready to blast out some tunes.  However, a treadmill is a great way to get in a workout when the weather outside isn’t cooperating.

8.  Keep thinking…"I’m Tough" – It always helps me to think about the toughness it takes to get yourself dressed and ready for a run in 20 degree weather.  Running in the cold isn’t for everyone, but if you do brave the elements, it will make you stronger in the long run, both mentally and physically.  

7.  Bathing suit season! – Spring and summer is a mere three to four months away and a good winter running season will get your body ready!  Save yourself from the stress and panic that bikini season often poses (to women in particular).

6.  Try a New Route – Mix up your running routes by going in a new direction.  Or…try running your favorite route, backwards.  I have a favorite out & back course that I can choose to run 4 ½, 5, or 6 miles.  However, there are a few routes that I interchange depending on how I feel and how much time I have for that day. 

5.  REST – A day off from running isn’t necessarily a bad thing because your body needs breaks.  I only run 5 days a week mainly due to time constraints, but I feel that my body responds better when I give it the rest it needs.  

4.  Write it Down – I recently started to keep a running journal, complete with dates, distances, paces, splits, routes, and how I feel on a particular day.  It is nice to look back to weeks past and review what you did and how far you have come.  Keeping a log also promotes the added incentive to run because the guilt factor comes into play. For example, when I add a “0” in for a day that was supposed to be a running day, I feel guilty.  Don't mind my handwriting, please!

3.  Have the Proper Clothing – When you have proper clothing that is meant for winter, you feel more comfortable on a run.  My husband bought me a few winter running pieces for Christmas and they have proved to be invaluable.  A few good base layer tops and well fitting tights are necessary, along with a good hat or headband and a lightweight jacket.  Proper reflective pieces are also a good idea if you run in the dark.  "New" clothes are always a motivator as well, running or not!

2.  BLOG About It! – To be honest, this blog has helped me a ton with motivation this winter.  I enjoy sharing my experiences with you, and I hope that you enjoy reading about them too.  

And finally…drum roll please….

1.  Set a Goal and/or Enter a Race – I saved this tip for number one because I think it is the most important part of getting any runner through the winter.  Look ahead to the different spring and summer races that are slated in your area.  Chose one and adjust your training for that particular race’s distance.   

What is my goal for the spring?   I am planning on running a 1,500 meter track race on April 14th to be exact.  My training with Coach Jesse has all been geared towards excelling on this day.  Keep in mind…I haven’t run a 1,500 meter race since college, so it definitely will be a challenge.  But I dedicated myself to this goal and I am focused on doing the best that I can.  I also signed up to do a St. Patrick’s Day 5k on March 18th and I feel that this race will be a good opportunity to see where I am in my training.  

Here is the link for the West End St. Patrick's Day 5k if you are in the area and interested in signing up.  From what I hear, it's a fun time!

Coach Jesse’s distance runners consistently run outdoors throughout the season and he has a few winter running tips of his own:  
1.  Plan your training around the best weather days.  If you have an interval workout in your schedule for the upcoming week, look ahead at the 5-day forecast and focus on running those intervals on the a “good weather” day. 

2.  Try to run during the daylight hours.  There is nothing more miserable than running in the cold AND the dark.  Strive to run at the best time of day, preferably around 4:00 pm when it is the lightest and the warmest. 

3.  In addition, try to pay attention to the winds predicted for the next day.  For example, if the wind is projected to worsen progressively throughout the day, then aim for a morning run to minimize exposure to them. 

Thanks, Jesse!

Even though the groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter, I am an optimist.  So the next time you find it difficult to get yourself out on the road, think about what motivates you and go with it!  Good luck!

I would love to hear your motivational strategies for running in the winter...

Have a great day!


1 comment:

  1. With respect to the wind, try to always start running into the wind for 2 reasons. First, you have something to look forward to at the end of your run rather than dread grinding away into the wind at the end. Second, if you develop a sweat in the first half, then have a stiff wind blowing through you and your clothes, you'll be much colder when finishing.