Having to get out running in the cold or rain can be a real limiting factor in keeping up consistent training. Moving into winter here in Australia getting motivated to head out the door on those icy or rainy mornings can be super difficult. It’s a battle that every runner faces as winter rolls around.

We want to do it. We plan to do it. When we wake up though, it’s much more appealing to stay under the blankets where it’s nice and toasty. We think to ourselves we will just do it later. Then the busyness of life takes over and we have missed the perfect opportunity to get out. I kick myself every time I do it!

Those of us that have other commitments like work, family, whatever you do during the day, getting your training done in the morning is the only time you have!

Plus there is something about getting your run done first thing. It sets you up for an awesome day whatever happens.

Here are some tips for making sure you keep training like the consistent running machine that you are, even when the weather turns to crap.

Have a goal

It totally helps to have a goal to be working towards.  Whether it’s to build your training base, an event or your own personal goal to improve your running.  Whatever motivates you.

When you are half asleep in the morning, thinking about that goal can spur us to action. Maybe for a while anyway.  Usually after a few weeks, that goal may not be enough to keep the momentum going, especially for hard core running in the cold.  We need to focus on building the habit.

Make it a habit

If your’e anything like me, when the alarm goes off at 5 am you hit that snooze button about 5 times before you actually get up.

We want to make getting up early and running a habit. Whatever the weather.

Break down the steps

Let’s break down the action of getting up into small steps. Write down whatever your steps are.

Here is a guide

  1. alarm goes off
  2. swing legs over and stand up
  3. get dressed in running gear
  4. eat/drink (if you like to.  I personally am non-functional without a coffee)
  5. dynamic warm-up (essential in cold weather, more on this later)
  6. Go RUN!
  7. Finish run feeling amazing and quite proud of ourselves

woman sleeping

start small

So once you know your steps we need to break it down and train our brains to think its a brilliant idea to instantly jump out of bed ready to run.

Start with step 1.

When the first alarm goes off, sit up and swing your legs over the side of the bed and stand up. You then have a choice.  You can either get up or jump back into bed.  Do whichever you feel like.  Do that every morning for a week and your mind will get used to the action of getting out of bed.

It could take longer than a week, depending on the resistance levels, which is totally fine.

After you have mastered the action of getting out of bed.  Add in the next step for you.

I throw on my running gear that usually somewhere in a random clean washing pile.  If I was organised I would have it ready.  But I’m generally not.  Whatever works for you.  I like to put on my old big warm jumper and warm socks over my running gear, just for comfort levels.  For whatever reason it makes it easier for me mentally to get up.

Like step 1.  You then give yourself a choice, you can either keep going with your routine or jump back into bed.  Whatever floats your boat.  And so on with your morning routine.

It takes time and patience to create a habit.  If you ever doubt why you are bothering, go back and think about your goal and your why.

Don’t beat yourself up if you choose your comfy, warm bed.  Appreciate the process.  It will become a habit.

So start with each step and gradually build it up, until your mind and body thinks going out for a run when it’s zero degrees outside is just what you do.

It’s all about what we are wearing

What we are wearing makes a massive difference to motivation levels. Wearing easily removable layers so we are nice and warm when we start, can really help when running in the cold.

I have my favourite blue puffer jumper which keeps me nice and warm for the first ten minutes, then is easy enough to tie around my waist.

Invest in a running jacket or a vest to keep you dry.  Trust me, it’s all about the layers.

Plus gloves! If you struggle with cold hands get some running gloves.  totally worth the investment!

Whatever you do don’t skip the dynamic warm-up

We are talking about running in the cold.  If you want to avoid injuries and have an awesome run we really need to do a dynamic warm-up.

I know we often have limited time to run.  With all this stuffing around getting dressed, drinking coffee who has time to warm-up?  But I can’t stress enough how super important it is.  Read more about dynamic warm-ups in this post.

If you need ideas on what to include in your warm-up check out this 5 minute dynamic warm-up here.

Need some accountability?

It’s a lot more difficult to miss a run if we know someone is waiting for us or will know if we haven’t completed that planned session in our program.  Find a running buddy, a running group or a coach who will make sure you are showing up.

Head out and have an awesome run!

So often once we are out running, we think how amazing it is and how glad we were that we got out of bed.  Those feel good endorphins make our day that much better.  It’s totally worth building the habit to get out for that morning run before our daily life sets in.

Our minds thank us and our training improves out of sight if we keep running consistently, rain, hail or shine.

What are your tricks to keeping motivated to keep running in the cold through winter?