Sunday, November 15, 2009

What Motivates You To Go On Cold Winter Runs?

Ah, the nip is in the air (well not really, today it's almost 70°F here in NC). Oh, but I know it will be here to stay soon enough. We've already had a few cold-spell teases. Winter is always a challenge for me to run. I'm a warm-weather runner by nature. I run year-round, but it's just harder for me to get myself up and run in 25° temps. I know, I die-hard northern runners as well as my Canadian and Northern European friends are all laughing at me and my "wuss-ness", but my body just prefers running in warmer weather. Many of my running buddies love it when the cold weather arrives—I'm not as thrilled.

Don't get me wrong. I don't love the humid North Carolina dog-days of August, but I do like the warmer temps. The shorter days also make it harder to run during the winter months. So, I can either hang-up my running shoes for 4 months or I can dig deep for motivation to get out there and run. I choose to dig deep.

Earlier this month, I posted the 12 Tips for Cold Weather Running . Those are important tips to keep you healthy and safe during your winter runs, but in looking back at that post, I realized I left out the most important tip—Motivation. You don't really need to worry about fueling-up, frostbite, drying off, and wearing bright colors, if you're not actually running. So, tip #1 for Cold Weather Running is "Find Your Motivation."

For you cold-weather lovers, this won't be hard to do. You probably already pop-up at the crack-of-dawn raring to go! Even if it's 2° outside! For the rest of us, we need to dig deep. What motivates you to don 4 layers of clothing, gloves, hat, and a headlamp?

The flood of "feel-good chemicals" is what motivates me to get going on those really cold days. No matter how hard it is to get up and no matter how uncomfortable it is to run in a multitude of wet layers of clothing, I know that if I don't get the natural boost of "feel-good chemicals" (more scientifically known as endorphins) flowing through my body, I'll have one miserable day. There's nothing better for me than that warm shower after a cold run. I feel revitalized and my brain is warmed-up and ready for the day. Research has actually shown that your "brain power" increases after exercise. On days that I don't run, I feel like I'm walking around in a fogbank. So I just ask myself, "Want a fogbank day or a great day?" I opt for the great day.

Winter Motivation Prize Drawing!
What motivates you to run during the cold winter months? RunnerDude Would like to know. Send your winter running motivation tip to by November 30th and your email will be entered in a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to RoadRunner Sports. Be sure to put "Motivation" in the subject line and put your name in the body copy of the email. Each email will be assigned a different number based on the order that the emails are received. The winning number will be selected by The True Random Number Generator at . The winner will be announced on December 1, 2009. After the winner is announced a post will added to the blog featuring all the motivation tips along with contributors' names. "Whatcha" waiting for? Email RunnerDude today!


Relentless Forward Commotion said...

well considering it was 75 degrees and beautiful here today...I've got nothing ;)

RunnerDude said...

Hi Heather! I hear ya! My computer is reading 75 here as well! LOL! But it will come. It will come. How cold does it get your way in SC?

Relentless Forward Commotion said...

oh it gets down in the teens, thankfully not for very long. Usually hovers around 40 or 50 in the winter. I remember waking up for the 2007 Myrle Beach Marathon, and the thermometer read 19 degrees!! brrrrr!

RunnerDude said...

Hi Heather! I remember some of my running buddies running Myrtle Beach that particular year!

Regina said...

A hot shower afterwards.

Mario said...

We get 90+ in the summer, way below zero in the winter--doesn't make a difference--you just dress differently. I guess if there is a motivator, its that I would rather run outside in temps of 10 below rather than on the treadmill.

It ain't cold till it hits zero, even then the wind has to be blowing :) 19 degress justifies long sleeves is all.

Teamarcia said...

Hear hear Mario! I'll run outside over the mill anyday. Plus I'll take 20 degrees over 80+ in a heartbeat. When it's cold "enough" the snow isn't really slippery anymore! Wow I am nuts aren't I?

Anonymous said...

When I was in college (out of shape), I had a friend who said his favorite time to train was in horrible, cold, windy conditions. When I asked him why, he smiled and said, "Because nobody else is".

That's what motivates me - my imaginary competitors are at rest, and I'm out there working and getting better.