Stay on Course for Running in Fall and Winter Months

Stay on Course for Running in Fall and Winter Months

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RoadWith the weather turning cooler and summer days spent in your swimsuit now just a memory, it’s easy to lose motivation to exercise. But fall and early winter temperatures can actually be ideal for running outdoors. I run outside all year-round; training for marathons. Here are my  tips for staying motivated and safe on fall and winter runs.

Motivation 

  •  Sign up now for shorter races throughout the winter months to complete as workouts and perhaps a longer goal race for the spring.
  •  Get out and seize the moment before the weather makes it even more challenging. I used to see people running in the snow and cold and think, “Crazy person!” Now I am that person. As a “busy mom on the run,” I know that I have to get in my run while I have the chance. If it’s raining or snowing, so be it.
  • Find a running buddy who will be waiting at the end of your driveway. When you feel accountable, you will get out of bed on a cold morning.
  • There will be rainy fall days here in Northeast Ohio. Try to embrace them. Running in the rain actually can be liberating. As the rain drips off of you, it can feel like washing away your worries and cares.
  • Try thinking about how you’ll feel if you do workout. Now try thinking about how you’ll feel if you don’t. I bet that will get you out the door.
  •  Tell yourself you only have to go out for 10 minutes. You can do anything for 10 minutes. I guarantee that once you’re out there, you’ll want to keep going.
  •  Still not motivated? Try taking the first step. Change your clothes. Put on your running shoes, then listen to your favorite, most motivating song. That will get you headed in the right direction.

Safety

  •  On cooler days, dress in layers with a base layer, an insulating middle layer and a lightweight, water-resistant, windproof breathable jacket on top.
  • Try wearing trail shoes in winter months, even to run on the road. They will provide better traction and help prevent you from slipping.
  •  When temps are below zero, hypothermia can set in quickly.
  •  Snowy, icy roads can be treacherous for both you and the drivers who might have to swerve to get around you. While you may still be motivated to get out in the snow, consider postponing or bringing your run inside for everyone’s safety.
  • When I do have to bring my run inside, the treadmill is either my best friend or my worst enemy. Last winter, I ran 11 miles on it while training for the Big Sur Marathon. While two hours on the machine is not nearly as much fun as running outside, I try to remember that without it I wouldn’t get any run at all.
  • When I do have to bring my run inside, the treadmill is either my best friend or my worst enemy. Last winter, I ran 11 miles on it while training for the Big Sur Marathon. While two hours on the machine is not nearly as much fun as running outside, I try to remember that without it I wouldn’t get any run at all.
  • Mittens are better than gloves for keeping your hands dry and warm. If it’s single digits, I run with gloves over the top of the mittens for extra warmth. Put duct tape over mesh shoes to keep your feet dry in rain or snow.
  • Don’t forget to bring water and fuel for runs longer than 30 or 40 minutes year-round. You still lose as much fluid through sweat in the winter as you do in the summer.

Ashley Weingart is a mother of three, a marathon runner and a blogger. She writes about her adventures as a “busy mom on the run” at www.runningwithskissors.com. 

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