Cold Weather Running Motivation

Here in NJ, we’ve been lucky this fall. The weather hasn’t been as blisteringly cold as it’s been in previous Novembers. Unfortunately, though, that’s made me a little soft now that the REAL cold weather is on the way.


Case in point: since it’s been about 60 degrees for the last two weeks, this morning’s 30 degrees for a morning run felt like -10 and I went back inside!


I’m a baby when it comes to the cold, I’m the first to admit. As much as humidity sucks the life out of me when I run in the summer, I’d much rather have to constantly rehydrate or wait  until sundown to run comfortably than have to face single-digit temps. I know deep down as a runner that cold weather is better for me – hell, every one of my PR’s was set in 40 degrees or less! – but I just can’t bring myself to freeze for the first mile or two while my body acclimates to the weather.

As we get further into the cold season, I’ll get used to it for sure. I always do. But until then, here are a few things that motivate me to get up, get out and get running when the polar vortex makes me want to do anything but that:

Sleeping in my running gear. This is a win-win: once the temps drop below 40, our house gets perpetually cold. Wearing my running gear base layer of tights and long sleeve tech shirt to bed keeps me sleepy-time cozy and takes one prep step out of the equation in the morning because I’m already dressed!

New Music. I don’t know about you, but this is one of my best motivators year round, actually. Knowing I’ve got some new tunes waiting to pump me up in those first few frigid miles makes it a bit easier to bear: if I can just get through that first song, I’ll be warm!

Friends. No one wants to be the person that keeps the group waiting in the cold. NO ONE.


Self-bribery (see also: Shame). I’mma keep it real here: knowing that I get to go back home and curl up under warm blankets on the couch with a glass of wine after my run is sometimes the number one thing that gets me out the door. The gross feeling I get when I plan a workout only to skip it is reason number two.

A new route. One nice thing about running in the cold is that pretty much everywhere is fair game. In the summer, the thought of heading down to the beach for 8 miles on the boardwalk at 10am is unthinkable, thanks to blazing sun, ridiculous tourist crowds, and the unbearable heat. But in the middle of November? The beach is like a ghost town and those endless miles of boardwalk are ALLLL MINE!


What about you: how do you stay motivated when it’s so much more tempting to stay in the toasty warmth of your house? Share your tips!

13 thoughts on “Cold Weather Running Motivation

  1. I love love love your tip to wear your running clothes to bed! That’s something I thought about but always forget to actually do. But I really need to do this no matter what my non-running boyfriend thinks! haha.
    Aside from preparing clothes/gear ahead of time, meeting up with friends is always my number one motivator in the cold. If I know others will be running, then I can do it too and we’ll suffer together!


  2. Also completely agree with the wearing running clothes to bed! It takes away just one more excuse… Wellll I’m already dressed…. I also don’t mind that in the winter I don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to beat the heat. Running at 10 or 11am and coming home to “brunch” – not too shabby.


  3. I love the idea of sleeping in your running gear because I’m going to ATTEMPT the Runner’s World streak this year (I did it two years ago and completed the challenge!) and I have a feeling that might be the only way it happens. I do love my warm and toasty bed. A lot.

    Liked by 1 person

      • So far it’s been going well! There are a few days that have been difficult to make it happen but I’m now 7 days in and I’ve got it done so far! I think there are 30 days to go. I can and I will!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a total wuss. I bail to the treadmill. The temperature for my 5K on October 18 was in the 30’s. Let’s just say it didn’t end well (didn’t help that the course was tough too). I just tell myself that coffee is waiting at the end!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We have had some really nice temperatures in buffalo too (55 tomorrow?!?!) and I’ve been a total baby at the 30 degree mornings. It’s ridiculous! Last year I ran through sub zero and man, I’m just a big baby.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Keep it Sassy, Keep it Classy, Keep it Real | Jess Runs Happy

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