Spiked Eggnog, butter cookies galore, and the enticing scents of cinnamon and apple cider mingle in the air. Winter is officially here, and with it arrives the “winter blues.” For some runners, this can be a particularly troubling time. Saturdays, once filled with nearly a dozen races to choose from, suddenly dwindle down to less than a handful. If you’re a long distance runner, you’ll find your assortments diminished as well. Kind of like those sweltering summer days, hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, the dead of winter seems to detract runners as well.
Many runners choose this time of year to hibernate and self-soothe with an ample supply of sweets and holiday beverages, often attracting the attention of the Winter Blues, which only serves to further fuel this vicious cycle. I’m not saying don’t enjoy a delectable morsel or decline Aunt Tilly’s homemade spiked eggnog. I’m just saying enjoy the holidays in moderation. Don’t let winter be the undoing of your carefully laid-out training nd year-long progress. Remind yourself of motivated you to get moving in the first place.
Here are a few tips to help rekindle and nurture your love affair with running, during Jack Frost’s favorite time of year. :)
1. Get off the beaten path, and explore! Instead of driving to see the Christmas lights, try running. Hit the trail, and take in nature’s version of winter.
” I like the sparkly appearance everything takes with the frost. Stars seem brighter and the lights during the holidays are an added benefit when running.” -Rachel R., KS
2. Sign up for a Santa run, or pick a spring race that will motivate you to train through the winter!
“Winter races, and also knowing that if I win the lottery today, I’ll be in a bikini in a warm sunny place tomorrow. Gotta keep in shape just in case!” -Christianna Z., NJ
3. Remember how far you’ve come.
“I don’t want to lose everything that I’ve gained through my training throughout the year.” -Rachel B., PA
4. Run earlier in the day. We’re programmed to want to sleep, as daylight draws to a close. Try to run earlier in the day. You’ll stand a better shot at getting it in.
5. Buddy up! Find a running buddy or run with a group to help you stay motivated. This is especially helpful when you can’t run earlier in the day.
6. Warm-Up first! The “dreadmill” a.k.a. treadmill can be your friend, really. It’s 35F outside, and your excuse is “It’s too cold outside to run,” BUT you don’t want to run eight miles on the treadmill either. Do both! Use the treadmill as a “warm-up.” Get in a mile or two, then head outside. You won’t notice how cold it is now. Just be sure to throw on a few layers first. :)
“I get reacquainted with my treadmill!” -Emilee Matthews
I LOVE winter running, but I absolutely detest cold, wet, dreary days. Too bad we can’t combine the best of both worlds, winter temps and the summer sun. Until that happens, these tips will put a spring in your stride again! Cheers!