No matter how good a summer you’ve had, it’s normal to feel your winter running motivation slip away with the daylight when the darker nights start to draw in. Here are our top tips for staying bright and motivated over the winter months ahead.
Goals, goals, goals!
The surefire way to maintain your winter running motivation is to set your next goals as early as you can. Don’t wait until you make your New Year’s Resolution to enter a spring race or set a personal training target: do it now. Having your eyes on the prize early will allow you to create – and stick to – an effective training schedule. A March or April 10k is a perfect goal, and achievable for most runners even if the winter weather doesn’t play ball. Choosing a bigger goal – like a spring Half or Full marathon – ups the ‘stick to it’ stakes even more. Slot in a few shorter races to focus on along the way as progress markers and you won’t even notice the dark!
Don’t be afraid of the dark
As the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong kit. The same holds true for our ark evenings. A headtorch, a high-viz jacket or a flouro beanie will let you carry on training in safety pretty much as normal throughout the darker months. Your new purchases will also put that ‘I’m trying out my new kit’ spring in your step we all love.
See things in a whole new light
It can take a bit of time to get used to running with a headtorch, but when you do, you’ll notice you see the world differently. And there’s no need to stick to the pavements. Don’t be afraid to go offroad – your favourite trail and forest runs can be spectacular illuminated by the glow of a headtorch.
Rethink your schedule
If you really can’t run at night where you live – and safety should always be your main priority – spend some time rethinking your schedule. Can you run at lunch, or earlier in the mornings? Can you add in a cross-training or treadmill session during the week and save your outdoor runs for the brighter weekends? Maintaining a schedule of sorts – even if it’s not perfect – will keep your fitness and your motivation up for when the evenings lighten up again in spring.
Runners rarely lose their mojos in one go. Unless we’ve suffered serious injuries that force us to hang up our trainers for a while, demotivation is generally the last stage of a gradual process. A missed training run here, a crummy race experience there, a niggling injury that just won’t shift – all these things are just tiny, annoying drips. But if they’re left unchecked in the winter gloom, they can turn into a flood of negativity. So don’t let them. Have that injury checked out; forget about that bad race; and forgive yourself for missing that training run. Focus on the bigger goal rather than individual setbacks – and power through the darkness.
Winter Running Motivation with a friend
Running solo through the spring and summer can be a glorious thing. Without the distraction of other runners, we can focus on our own thoughts, the scenery, pushing on that extra mile, that cute runner just ahead of us – whatever takes our fancy. In the darker months, though, such solitude can be unwelcome. The prospect of staring ahead into the darkness alone for an hour or so can be very demotivating – so don’t do it. Buddy up with another runner or join a club. You’re less likely to miss a run when you’ve got someone waiting for you at the start, so take advantage of that fact to get your winter miles in. The glow of good company will make you forget it’s dark out there! winter running motivation.
Winter running motivation – Check out our winter running essentials