Here in New Jersey, we are in the throes of a bitch of a winter. There is no nice way to put it – that crotchety old man winter has us over his bony knee and he is spanking the hell out of us, over and over and over again. Now that I’ve put *that* horrible image in your head, please accept this photo of a kitten reading a bedtime story to make up for it.
As runners, we know that these polar vortexes and deep freezes just make us more resilient. Mentally and physically, we grow stronger with each slippery step. But at a certain point, even the toughest runner has to throw their hands up in the air and cry uncle.
I’m sure there are more seasoned, harder runners that may look at this path and think “HA! You can still see blacktop, that’s nothing! -15 degrees with 20mph wind gusts? Child’s play! 2 inches of fresh fallen snow? Nothing like it. Bring it on!” If that’s you, I tip my hat to you. You’re a tough cookie! I, on the other hand, am more like a wad of unbaked dough with a brand new ACL. My ass is not taking a risk on unstable ground, especially not after a year of rehab and physical therapy to get that new knee back in working order.
I managed to slip and wipe out 3 times in a half a mile on that icy path you see in the picture above before getting so frustrated that I screamed at the top of my lungs, punched a snowdrift, and trudged through another half mile of 8 inch-deep snow back to my car. To say that I hate the winter is an understatement.
But, as a runner, I have to find a way to get those miles in. Much like many of you probably did, I signed up for a spring race to keep me active through these frigid months. The biggest challenge I’ve faced is finding the motivation to do just that.
I’ve explored lots of different motivational tactics. Some are really effective, and others… well, let’s just say sleeping in your workout clothes to get out the door easily for an early morning run just makes it harder to get *out* of bed because the blankets are that much warmer when you’re wearing running shorts.
Here are some of my favorite motivational things to get pumped up for a workout when I’ve got about three pounds of Valentine’s Day chocolate in the cabinet 10 feet away from me, and about 5 inches of perma-frost outside just waiting to slip me up:
1. New gear – sometimes you just have to embrace your inner mallrat and shop for inspiration! Admit it. A run just feels easier when you’re wearing a badass new tank with parrots on it.
2. Switching it up at the gym – or even joining a gym in the first place! After 4 years of embracing the streets and the living room as my workout spaces, I finally bit the bullet and re-joined a traditional gym this winter, and I couldn’t be happier. Knowing that I can disappear in a warm room filled with every kind of workout equipment known to man for as long as I want – there’s nothing like it.
3. New music – When those long runs are breathing down my neck (these days, mostly on the treadmill too), I take to Facebook or Google to find a batch of 5-10 new songs to mix up my running playlist. This recent find turned out to be an awesome middle-of-the-run “get it done” song that I find myself replaying over and over again:
4. Involving a friend – This one is my favorite! A month or two ago, I started going to our local Lululemon for free yoga classes on weekend mornings, and now I’m going with two other friends and having a blast! Knowing that one friend has been up since 4am taking care of her sick 4-year old and doing an Insanity workout before yoga? Yeah, I’ll do my damnedest to drag my hungover ass out of bed and meet her there. That’s motivation.
These are just a few of my favorite motivational tactics through these cold winter months. Do you have any other go-to’s? Instagram feeds, inspirational quotes, etc? Share the love in the comments!