Thursday, December 3, 2009

Winter Running—What Motivates You?

A few weeks ago, I asked the readers to share what motivates them to keep running during the cold winter months. What I received was a wonderful array of reasons perfectly characterize a runner—drive, commitment, determination, resolve, and health-minded. Marcia (one of the contributing readers) says it best, "Skipping a run is like cracking the door open to failure."

Read on and see what your fellow runners shared...

My motivation.......Mostly, my motivation is driven by the saying "this will not kill me". No matter how cold it is, how deep the snow is (or WAS since I am now in Arizona!), it won't kill me. In fact, the faster I run the warmer I would become! If that isn't motivation I don't know what was. Side story... I remember visiting my dad in northern Iowa and going for a 15 mile run. Not only did my sport beans freeze rock solid IN MY POCKET, the water in my water belt froze completely solid without me knowing about it. The next day when I went for my recovery run, I made sure to tuck the water belt under my shirt.—Adam R.
I live in New Hampshire where it’s freezing for what feels like half the year. Last yer I ran in 9* weather, it was crazy freezing but I always keep this quote in mind when running in cold (or horrible weather in general) “someone is training harder than you right now” I would like to think that certain times in the winter, I am that person training hard than someone else.—Tami C.

What motivates me most during the cold weather runs is the feeling of crisp air hitting my face as I run along. Kind of a mental cleansing for me. But also knowing my groupies will be there holding me accountable to my goals. Yes, my friends are as crazy as I am and we love it. We cut it off at 10°. Anything lower we find a "dreadmill."—Amy B.

This one's tough because I live in the cruel, cold climate of Idaho where our winters last six months long. I guess for me, the motivation to run in the cold isn't much different than the motivation to run any other time of year. That is, if I don't just get out there and do it, I'm only cheating myself out of something that will make me feel great. I'm only cheating myself out of time that's all mine—precious miles and minutes to myself to feel the freedom and rejuvenation that running offers. Running in the cold brings a kind of exhilaration that no other season can duplicate and when I've braved the plunging temperatures that keep most people bundled up in the warmth of their homes, I feel a sense of pride in myself that really empowers me. It never fails that the little bit of resolve it requires to bundle up and get out the door on a cold winter morning is rewarded ten times over six or seven miles later.—Angie "TallGirlRunning"

What motivates me to run in cold weather is the adrenaline factor that seems to take place while running in the cold and being able to wear my favorite running clothes I get each Christmas.—Austin R.
It gets cold for several months on end in northern NY and I know that if I don't get out there and run, every day I skip is fitness that I will lose and have to try to regain when the warmer spring temps come. I don't want all the hard work I've done to go to waste, so I bundle up and get moving!—Jennifer O.
My motivation for winter running has two parts: 1. great winter food (to run those holiday calories off) 2. cold crisp air, and feeling "alive"—Paige P.
I enter the winter season knowing that I only have a few winters in my life..they are numbered. My father only had 54 of them. That was it. I have had 36. That gives me some strength of resolve to get out the door on those blustery days to conquer the chill.—Chad T.

Maybe this is a no brainer, but in the winter I eat more. AH, I crave thick soups and lasagna, anything warm for that matter. So in order to feel OK with all of this winter eating, I know I MUST run! I dread cold weather runs, especially when they begin at 5:30, just early enough for me to run and somehow get to work on time.—Kirbey B.

We celebrate several holidays with the centerpiece being eating fabulous treats and huge meals. If I want to fit into my new (smaller sized) clothes, I'd better keep on running! Frankly, I could get a gym membership (and probably spend less than I might on cold weather running gear), but that would mean running around a track 13 times per mile or (yikes) the dreadmill. And it would also mean an additional hour of driving to and from the gym. Which would mean an hour less of sleep. When I run long distance, it really impresses my friends who don't run. When I run in the cold, it really impresses them! This keeps me motivated to run in the cold.—Brian V.

Our rule is if its over 0° we run.....Heated seats in the car on the way home, warm shower and a second cup of coffee......Yeahhhhh baby!—Kay S.

Well, being a Colorado boy automatically means that I love the snow. So being able to run in the snow is a gift in itself. About 3 weeks ago we received 21 inches in two days and my main motivation to go running was all the fun I knew I was going to have. Half of the run the snow was up to my knees, but I can't help think that I must have looked pretty crazy so it was well worth it!—Corey B.

My main motivation for getting up and out on a really cold day is a late winter 1/2 marathon I do in mid-March followed by a spring marathon. In my mind, skipping a run is like cracking the door open to failure.—Marcia K.

I went on a 14 miler on Sunday in the freezing cold sleet, but I had been looking forward to that run all week and I wasn't going to give it up just because of the gross weather. My biggest motivation that day was a yummy trip to Starbucks afterwards, but a serious piece of motivation is not losing what you have worked so hard to build up. People don't realize how quickly you can lose the running base you have built up and who wants to start all over when you train for a Spring race. Although the gym and cross training are good options for the winter it is still immensely important to have at least one long day a week. I know my long term goal is to qualify for Boston with my Dad. My first marathon(which I lack-lusterly trained for my last semester in college) I completed in 4:09, when I put in the training and miles I shaved off 15 minutes with a 3:55 this Fall. I don't want have to start all over in the Spring to shave off another 15 minutes so that is what I tell myself when the question is "to run or not to run." That was a long answer, but hopefully it gives you a feel for what gets me going!—Anna Q.

It's 100% my running buddies. If I know I have a running date with them (early in the AM, it's been from 38°-45°F) I will show up and be accountable. Thank goodness for running buddies!—Maritza

Winter running motivation? Well, Syracuse gets over 100 inches of snow every winter (we usually win the Golden Plow Award....yes, it actually exists). I usually spend these months on my treadmill, but what motivates me to get out in the fresh winter air for a run is usually Cabin Fever!—Molly
Thanks to each reader who contributed a winter running motivation tip. All the contributors' emails were entered in a drawing for a $25 RoadRunner Sports Gift Card. Adam Ricklefs was the lucky contributor whose email was drawn! Congrats, Adam!


Relentless Forward Commotion said...

"Our rule is if its over 0° we run" wow! Here in SC I am not kidding you, I wear long sleeves below 60 degrees. KUDOS to all of you cold weather runners, and when I am in NH for Christmas, I will remember this post. NO EXCUSES for me not to run!

runrgrl2007 said...

I might not have won but I got an honarable mention! Thanks RunnerDude!

Acey said...

I just discovered one over Thanksgiving. We ended up taking an unexpected holiday trip to Philly (my uncle got a new heart! he's doing great!). While I was there, I was thrilled to be able to "sightsee" the city without grabbing a cab or getting the car out of the hospital deck (12 bucks, eeek!). I saw the Philadelphia Art Museum, Boathouse Row and a Christmas Parade on a five miler one day...the next I saw the Liberty Bell and the other beautiful buildings in the Independence National Historical Park on another five miler. My family didn't leave the hospital otherwise, so I never would've been able to see those things if I weren't a runner. I got home the next week and went out for my usual boring four miler on the greenways in my neighborhood. I'm frustrated that I'm not training for anything, but I reminded myself that I could be training for another sightseeing run! You never know where you will find yourself!

The Boring Runner said...

Thanks runnerdude!! These motivations were all great.

Molly said...

I'm going to have to bookmark this post for future reference!

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