This post originally appeared on Ayesha Makim’s blog Run With Me.
Your alarm goes off and you feel the bite in the air. The winter training attire you laid out the night before allows you to make a quick transition from warm pajamas to tight leggings and a top.
Let’s face it: training for a race or just keeping up your training throughout winter is tough. Last year, I registered for my first marathon, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, which is in September. Excited, determined and driven, nothing could get in my way of training. I was going to stick to my program. I had to train all through winter in Cape Town if I was to get the results I wanted (3:50:00 or sub-3:50:00). I also went back to my home in Sydney, Australia for three weeks in August to visit with family–and, while I was there, I had to do two of my longest training runs in preparation for the big day.
While in Oz, it pretty much rained every day. Great! I thought. Luckily, through friends I was put in touch with an amazing group called Rejoov Runners, led by coaches Greta and Chris Truscott. This group provided the best speed sessions I have ever done to date–not to mention an inspiring amount of positive energy and encouragement. Without them, I would not have been able to achieve the result I got: 3:43:00 for the Cape Town Marathon.
Despite all of this, finding the motivation to train during harsh winter temperatures can still be tough. Here are a few tips to help you get your cold, stiff self out of bed and hit the road.
Find A Friend
Find someone–a friend, family member or club member if you are part of a running club–to train with. This could be someone who has entered the same race as you and has similar goals. Even if your partnership just helps you get to the start line, you’ll know you have done all that you can do. It helps you endure the icy morning runs when you have a buddy–especially when you can share a post-run hot coffee with them!
Join A Club
Before I joined Atlantic Athletic Club, my awesome club of choice, I ran alone in Cape Town. It was tough, but it was all I knew. When I joined AAC, everything changed. There were organized runs–no longer was just one other person doing the same race as me. Instead, 10 of us were all training through winter. It also helped with accountability: once you committed to a run the night before, you didn’t want to be that one slack person that didn’t show. The club members’ encouragement, support and advice sticks with you and helps you get through those cold, dark mornings. It’s a journey you go on with these people, watching each other grow, improve and succeed. You build bonds that last and drink copious amounts of coffee. Do it: join a club!
1, 2, 3…GO!
If you’re not a morning person, especially in winter, then I would suggest the “1, 2, 3…GO” method. It’s pretty straightforward: on GO, you get out of bed. Seems simple enough, right? But imagine you are floating on a warm and comfortable cloud: the mornings when your bed feels like that are when it gets tough. Before you hit the snooze button to go back to sleep and skip out on training, think about your goal. Think about that awesome feeling you have post-run: for getting up, getting out there and smashing your morning workout. That post-run feeling and sense of achieving something so early in your day, when most of the people you know (excluding your runner friends) are still sleeping.
These are just a few tips. Over time, you will work out what is best for you. It’s not easy, but it’s very rewarding when you get to the start line. Stay warm!