Now that the cheer and craziness of the holiday season is over, it’s time to face reality—winter is still here. For many of us, that means a few long months of cold-weather running. While the occasional run in the snow can be kind of magical, after that….bundling up and freezing your butt off gets pretty unappealing, pretty fast. But unless you can tolerate the treadmill until spring, you have to brave the cold for at least some of your workouts.
So to get yourself psyched up and in the right mindset to run outside, try one of these simple tricks to make it feel like summer when you’ve got the winter blues.
Warm up way before.
Even if you get yourself out the door, it can be very enticing to turn right around when that first icy wind hits your face. To make the cold a little less shocking, warm up indoors before heading out to run. You’ll be so energized that not even the sub-zero temps will tempt you to turn around.
Bring on the brights.
Now is not the time for your regular rotation of black leggings and gray tops. Dressing the part may seem silly, but seeing a pile of hot pink, highlighter yellow, and bright turquoise apparel in your gym bag can go a long way towards getting you in the mood.
Do it in the daylight.
Whenever possible, run during the daytime. Sure, a nighttime run can be very peaceful, but it can be next to impossible to choose a bone-chilling workout over the warmth of the couch once darkness falls. Stick to daylight hours to maximize your motivation and energy levels and reap all the mood-boosting benefits of natural light.
Fake it with flowers.
Keep a bright bouquet of flowers on your desk or wherever you spend most of your day. Both the summery sight and scent will help you forget what season you’re in and make the idea of the great outdoors a little more appealing, and that little boost may be all you need to get yourself out the door.
Post a picture.
Tuck a favorite summer running snapshot of yourself into the corner of your computer, or make it the background on your phone, to put yourself in a warmer mindset. If you think that will only make you more annoyed about the cold weather, swap the picture for one of you running a winter race or of that time you braved a snowstorm for an epic workout; this tactic will remind you that there is something special about running in a winter wonderland.
Remind yourself of your race goals.
Even if you tend to take it easy in the winter months, you likely have at least one race scheduled for the spring or summer. You obviously have to keep up with your workouts to meet your race goals, so keep your registrations—or even just a post-it with the name and date of your race—somewhere you’ll see it every day to remind yourself why it’s worth braving the frigid temperatures.