It’s cold outside, the days remain dark, and your nice warm blanket is constantly calling your name. But you need to run. If you want to be ready for your races in the spring, you must train now – through the winter. Here are some suggestions to help you stay motivated during the winter running season:

  1. Sign up for a spring race so that you have a race on your calendar to train for.
  2. Create running goals for the year, such as how many miles you want to run every month for the year, how many races you want to complete, or a time goal. Having goals to meet makes it easier to get out the door.
  3. Find a running buddy and make dates that you can’t miss.
  4. Schedule your run in pen in your calendar and keep the appointment.
  5. Buy some new gear, and then go try it out.
  6. Don’t just buy plain gear. Get products with funky colors or cool patterns that make you happy when you wear them.
  7. Find a new trail or place to run.
  8. Reward yourself after completing your runs. Maybe you buy that new book you wanted after completing your training for a week.
  9. Put stars on your calendar for every day you run. Getting lots of them will make you feel good and add color to your calendar.
  10. Run a virtual race. You’ll get some bling and have a reason to go outside. Plus, many virtual runs donate to charity.
  11. Sleep in your running tights. That way, you’ll be ready first thing in the morning!
  12. Join a fitness challenge. Place a bet with your friends, join a group that challenges members with fitness goals, or get coworkers involved at your workplace. Anyplace you find people who want to get healthier is a good place to find people to challenge you.
  13. Create a new running playlist with songs that make you want to move.
  14. Read stories about other runners. When you read other’s stories, it motivates you to stick with it.
  15. Run in the morning and reward yourself with a nice, hot drink afterward. Hot chocolate, tea, or coffee are examples of drinks you can look forward to.
  16. Get a pedometer or step-counting device, and set a daily goal. Running will help you meet that goal.
  17. Take a running vacation in the middle of winter. Pick a warm place to get away to and pack running clothes for each day you’ll be there.
  18. Remember how good you feel after a run. No one regrets a workout, but there are a lot of regrets for that run you missed!

By Nichols