We’ve been spoilt with the weather so far this winter; wearing shorts and vest tops in sessions during November is usually unheard of. Normally, as soon as October hits, the gloves come out, as do the thermal tops for cold days of training. We may have had unseasonably warm weather so far, but this appears to be changing. The temperature is definitely dropping, and the usual cold, wet and windy runs are returning. So, how do I stay motivated when the British winter hits?
Positivity. This is one of the most important things that keeps me motivated throughout the winter. I always remind myself, I am doing what I love, and no matter what the weather I am still moving one step closer to achieving my goals. Every run is beneficial and productive no matter what the weather. My coach always told me that training in the worst weather prepares you for any race, as you will never go into a race unprepared if you have trained in every weather. This is something to look at positively. If you get out there and train, no matter how cold or wet the weather, you will be in a stronger position physically and mentally if you have to race in it later on. Throughout the run, I also constantly remind myself how lucky I am to be out there running. Over the summer, when the weather was glistening I was stuck inside on crutches, or in the pool. Every run, even in the harshest weather is a run I should cherish and feel privileged to be experiencing. Any run injury free, is a positive one and I never let myself adopt a negative mindset going into a run or session.
I find it extremely important to have the right gear. If you haven’t already, invest in some warm gloves, a hat, a running snood, and definitely a good waterproof running jacket. Having the right attire suddenly makes those cold morning runs not seem so bad. Before you know it, you’ll be complaining you’re too hot whilst running. This is also vital to help reduce the risk of getting ill. Something I, along with many other runner’s dread, is the constant susceptibility we are faced with in the winter to getting colds. If you make sure you are wrapped up nice and warm, you are less likely to make yourself ill when the cold weather hits.
If you struggle to get yourself out for a run on your own, link up with a friend. Find people to run with to keep you motivated. If you have someone to go with you won’t want to let them down. If you are shying away from the idea of hitting the roads, you won’t want to wimp out if they are eager to go. Team up with other people and enjoy every run. Laugh about the weather, laugh about the nutty mentality you both possess, and enjoy running. Sometimes just having someone there, even if you aren’t talking, makes the run a whole lot easier.
A simple extra touch I like to do is, prepare a steaming hot drink for myself for when I get back from a session. Whether it’s a hot chocolate, a milky coffee or tea, or a herbal tea, that comforting warmth provided by a hot drink will instantly bring your mood up after a chilly run. I frequently opt for a glass of warm milk (even though I detest milk!) as it provides you with some warmth, whilst offering calcium and protein to help kickstart the repairing process.
Always remember: Winter miles=summer smiles. All winter miles are productive miles. I am driven throughout the winter thinking about the summer. If I work hard throughout the winter to get in the tough sessions and miles, I will be faced with the rewards in the summer. All those freezing wet runs, and muddy cross-country races are so worth it for the mental and physical strength they give you in the long run.
'It's only cold if you're standing still'
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!