Tips for Running through the Winter Blahs

Winter runner

Photograph cc by mysza on Flickr.

As the end and of January approaches many runner’s are beginning to reconsider their new years resolutions or spring goal races. What sounded like a great idea less than a month ago has been met with the reality of training in the dark, cold, and wet winter weather.

Moreover, for many of us, the new year brings new routines and responsibilities making it hard to find time to add a run into your hectic schedule. And even if you do find the time for a run, your cozy couch and that novel you received for Christmas beckon—after all your goal race is still months away.

If the above description sounds familiar, don’t worry, you are not alone. This time of year can upset the most disciplined runner. But all is not lost. With a bit of planning and perspective you can beat the winter blahs and keep running towards your goals.

How to Beat the Winter Blahs

1. Missed workouts happen

This year was going to be the year you strictly ahead to your training plan. Then you daughter got sick, and your boss dropped a huge assignment on your desk and you missed a run or two. Don’t look at this as a failure, or an excuse to give up. Rather view a missed work-out as a bonus recovery day.

An unplanned day off from running is not going to detract your hard-earned fitness. Moreover, taking some extra time to focus on other parts of your life now may earn you a bit of leeway later in the spring when your runs get longer.

2. Your training plan isn’t written in stone

Following up on tip #1, your training plan is a map to guide you to a successful race, not a series of commands. Illness, travel, family, social engagements can all get in the way of scheduled workouts. The key is to adapt and find away around any roadblocks that may appear on your maps.

For instance, if you have a 10K run scheduled, but can only can fit in 5K?  Do the 5K and see if you can fit an extra kilometre or 2 to another short run later in the week. Although DO NOT add missed mileage to your long runs… this is a recipe for injury!

3. Don’t neglect nutrition

Party season didn’t end with New Years. Parties for the Grammies, Superbowl, and Oscars—not to mention those Valentine’s Day chocolates—are all opportunities to over indulge. Moreover, the long cold winter nights are a perfect time for the comfort foods to come out… It is important to remember that our calories in should match our calories out. So if you’re gearing up for the Superbowl party, get your run in first and make an extra effort yo eat a healthy lunch before heading out.

4. Pamper yourself

As the weeks and miles on the pavement add up, they take a toll on the body. Pampering yourself today will make sure that you will make it successfully yo that start-line.Your body will be crying out for some TLC. Don’t hesitate to schedule a massage or go to a yoga classes.

At home, be sure to use that foam roller Santa brought you for Christmas and take some extra time to stretch after your work-out. And remember, a hot soak in epsom salts can do a body—and mind—good.

5. Keep your past successes—and future goals—in view

As the weeks wear own, your training can become monotonous and overwhelming, especially through the winter weather. After a bad run, we sometime can lose sight why we signed up for that race and be tempted to give up. This is why I create an inspiration board that has mementos from past races and inspiration for the up coming race. It helps me to remember how far I’ve come and what I’m running for.

Yuri in a Hurry - Race Medals

My finisher medals

6. Remember to smile!

The biggest thing to remember is that running is supposed to be fun. There are plenty of ways to exercise and keep fit, but we choose running for a reason. There will be several bumps and a few bad runs along the way—and some days April and May will seem a loooong way off,—but your race day will be here before you know it.

So enjoy the journey and use any setbacks to become more determined. Come the spring when you cross the finish line and look back, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come; and home much fun you had along the way!

Your Turn

How do you overcome the winter running blahs?

About Yuri

I'm Yuri and I'm in a hurry to lose weight, get fit, and have fun doing it! This blog is a chronicle of a once fat guy's journey to fitness while training for a marathon—and beyond. You'll also find running-related gear review, links and inspiration.
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  1. Good thoughts. Its been a tough winter. My philosophy about running in winter is to take whatever the weather gives me.

    • Good attitude. When the weather sucks, I like to think it makes me a stronger runner and makes running in good weather that much easier. As a result we are prepared for whatever weather race day brings!

  2. THANK YOU for writing this! It’s crazy in Michigan right now, the weather is AWFUL and I have had so many days that I can’t run or my run doesn’t go as planned. I have a training plan I’m trying to stick with but it’s very hard with this weather. Come May I just hope I am in the shape I want to be in for my marathon, my goal is 3:14 in 2014! =)

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  3. I have to keep remembering #1: Missed workouts happen. These temperatures have been crazy. I’ve had to be REALLY flexible about what I might call a run since I don’t even own a treadmill.

  4. David @ Captain Speedypants

    I usually don’t have to use mental tricks to get myself to run. But I do need them to do anything else such as cycling, strength, etc. I just have to remind myself that it will make me a better runner. lol.

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