Daylight savings time can certainly be a training drain. You’ve gotten yourself into a groove as the weather finally starts to cool and you’re no longer slogging along in 100 percent humidity or scalding, sweat-inducing heat...but just as you settle in, daylight fades at 5 p.m. and the weather is consistently rainy and/or freezing. If you’re losing steam and it’s getting harder and harder to lace up those sneakers, read on for some tips to help you stay motivated (and moving) this winter.

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Get Yourself In Gear

If you’re not into gear, you’re missing out. If you are into gear, you know that winter is the perfect time to load up. There’s a ton of cool fashion technology out there to keep you toasty warm in freezing temps. You’ll need the following:

  • Running jacket (or vest)

  • Hat or headband (to keep your ears warm)

  • Gloves (bonus if they’re tech so you can still use your watch or phone without taking them off)

  • Fleece lined or heat-gear tights

  • A few long-sleeved shirts

  • Reflective items (because it gets darker earlier).

  • Running jacket (or vest)

  • Hat or headband (to keep your ears warm)

  • Gloves (bonus if they’re tech so you can still use your watch or phone without taking them off)

  • Fleece lined or heat-gear tights

  • A few long-sleeved shirts

  • Reflective items (because it gets darker earlier).

Know How To Dress

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The rule of 15 still applies in the winter months. You’ll want to check the temps (pay attention to the “feels like temp”) and dress yourself as if it were 15-20 degrees warmer. You’ll be a little chilly as you get started, but after you get going you’ll be totally comfortable. It’s incredibly easy to over-dress for winter runs, so the faster you can get comfortable being uncomfortable when you start, the better off you’ll be mid- and post-run.

Stay Away From Mesh

Mesh shoes are great for summer because they allow your feet to breathe and let air pass through your shoes. You definitely don’t want that in winter. (Yeah! More gear!) It also may be a good idea to treat your shoes with a water-resistant spray. They won’t be totally waterproof, but they will stay drier when you’re slogging through sludge. Also, invest in some dry wicking socks that will wick away sweat, but keep your feet warm. Smartwool is a good place to start. Stay far, far away from cotton.

Warm Up Before You Hit the Road

You don’t have to do your warm up outside. Jog up and down your stairs a few times, do several sets of jumping jacks or get dressed and then quickly tidy up your house before you leave. The goal is to get your blood flowing without breaking a sweat. Don’t skip this part.

Be Kind to Yourself

Winter runs are not meant for speedwork. They’re mostly for keeping you moving and maintaining fitness. Allow yourself to slow down a few seconds per mile in these colder months. Keep your body strong, but care for it as you train. Most importantly, know when to take it inside. Some runners thrive on a treadmill, some find it tedious...either way, sometimes a steady-paced, indoor run is just what your body needs.

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Get Undressed

When your run is over, get out of those sweaty clothes quickly. From head to toe, you need to put on clean, dry clothes even if you don’t have time to shower right away.

Running when it’s cold isn’t super pleasant, but it’s a great way to keep the endorphins flowing through the winter months, when anxiety and depression can be at their highest. Completing some distance will make you feel accomplished and help keep boredom at bay, so grab a friend (and the appropriate gear) and hit the streets.

How do you get motivated for winter runs? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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