Even if you don’t live at 9000 feet and haven’t had to scrape your car windshield a couple of times already on the way to the trail, you’ve probably noticed the cooler, shorter days. This time of year it can be hard to stay motivated.
Here are a few tips to help you stay fit and find the extra motivation as the weather turns ominous.
The days are shorter! If you are an early morning runner, you’ll probably be running in the dark at least some of your run (this happens after work too). Make sure you have a working headlamp and it’s charged or has new batteries!
Getting out in the dark can be a challenge. Do you have a training partner willing to meet you at least one morning/evening a week? Misery loves company, right?!
Or, plan to meet a friend for breakfast/coffee afterwards—or maybe even run to your favorite breakfast/coffee spot.
Get all of your gear ready the night before. If you have a coffee pot with an automatic brew cycle, set this as well. If you still find motivation to be a struggle perhaps you should sleep with your running clothes on!
If the cold really turns you off in the morning, while you are sipping your coffee, put your clothes in the dryer for 5-10 minutes and then get dressed.
If motivation is the biggest challenge, start thinking about your goals for 2018; the bigger aerobic base you build now, the faster you’ll be in the spring.
Start researching some new races and put them on the calendar. Once you registered for a race or two, $$ may be the motivating factor to getting out of bed. Maybe you can plan a family vacation around one of your adventures?
If you live in an area with snow/ice, make sure you have your winter traction ready. (Icespikes, Kahtoola’s, Yaktrax, etc.)
Maybe think about some cross-training this winter: snowshoe running, cross country skiing, ski-mo or fat-tire biking are all fun outside winter activities with great aerobic benefit.
Check out the local gym/rec center. Maybe add 1-2 “classes” a week. Most of us runner’s/endurance athletes don’t cross train enough. Winter could be a great time to work on a weakness such as strength or flexibility. Perhaps sign up for a Yoga or Pilates class?
Or, if you have the luxury of time during your work day, maybe run during your lunch break and try and start a lunch club running group. (Make sure you have a stash of baby wipes in your desk!)
Do you have a local running store? If so, maybe now is the time to check out the group runs you have been meaning too attend.
If you prefer to exercise inside (treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, XC ski machine, etc.) make a list of all of the books you’ve wanted to read but haven't had time for and start reserving the audio versions from the library. Or, maybe get caught up on your favorite television series, or podcast(s). The treadmill doesn’t have to be the “dreadmill.”
For everything there is a season...
It is not, repeat not, the end of the world. Fortunately, a new day dawns tomorrow and you get a chance to tackle that workout again. In the meantime, take what you got from Mother Nature and make the most of it.