❄ In 2 weeks, I start my training for the Boston Marathon. My plan is 22-weeks long and falls right in the middle of winter… Wyoming winter. Sometimes its hard to stay motivated and inspired during the winter months due to unpredictable weather, lack of variety with running routes, working out indoors, or simply just being cold all the time! I’ve never trained for a marathon in winter before, but I’ve got the physical and mental strength to get it done! And in the end – when training is done and the race is finished – the reward will be more fulfilling for pushing through and making it happen.
For all you runners lacking motivation with your winter training, here’s my 2 cents to help you prepare and build your mental game this winter:
1. Layer Generously. You can always take off a layer – and I strongly encourage you do take off layers as needed to prevent cooling from sweat. Wearing a hat and gloves are essential for any run under 25-30 degrees. I also like to run with a buff around my neck just in case I need it to cover my face or need extra warmth for my ears. You can always stash clothing along your route and pick it up later if you get too warm.
2. Indoor Warm Ups. If you’re like me and set your alarm for 4:15 am to get your run in, then indoor warm-ups are a must! Taking the time to warm up (even if its only for 5 minutes) can make all the difference in motivating you to get out the door. Create a quick, 5 minute routine of dynamic exercises to get the blood moving (lunges, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, etc).
3. Hydration. You may not sweat as much as you would in warmer weather, but refueling and hydration are still a major priority – especially on long runs. On really cold days, be sure to store your fluids under an outer layer of clothing or in your hydration pack against your body so it won’t freeze. I also like to make tea before my run and will leave it to seep in a thermos while I’m gone. A warm cup of tea after a chilly, windy long run is a delightful way to replenish your fluids and to warm up!
4. Compression Socks. I wear the knee-high compression socks to help increase circulation, reduce lactic acid build-up (which speeds recovery) and for some additional warmth. My favorite compression socks are the Pro Compression brand. They’re soft and tight, but not so tight that you’re having to fight just to get them on or off. Plus, they have really fun colors and patterns.
5. Journal every day. Writing down my workouts, thoughts, and nutrition helps reveal patterns in my running and propels my focus and motivation for the weeks ahead. I LOVE the Believe Training Journal. The Believe journal includes mini essays, goal setting exercises and daily inspiration to help keep you focused on your strengths to increase your mental game.
6. Cross-Train. Cross training is essential for building strength, rebuilding/repairing muscle and maintaining sanity (especially during the winter months). Cycling and aqua jogging are my go-to exercises to help break up my week and add variety in my training. I make cross-training a priority, not just a chance to get out of the snow.
7. Embrace the weather. Take on the challenge of training in the cold. The statistics of 90% mental, 10% physical are true. Create a “rain/snow/sleet or shine” mentality to encourage you to stick with your training plan. If weather is particularly harsh, always have a Plan B workout in mind to get in your workout at your local fitness center.
8. Talk to yourself. As a health coach, I’m a firm believer in the power of positive self-talk. Your subconscious is a powerful tool used to squash self-doubt and negativity in your training. Find a mantra to speak to yourself.. out loud! “I am strong!” “I can keep going!” “I can push through this!” Every time you find yourself caught in a negative thought, say your mantra out loud to encourage yourself to think more positively about the situation. Repeat, repeat, repeat and your body will respond to what you believe.
9. Get in your prayer miles. Every mile you run is a quiet moment to pray for someone in your life. When I’m lacking motivation in my workouts or catch myself engaging in negative self-talk, I start praying for others to re-focus my thoughts toward what I’m thankful for in my life. Gratitude builds motivation and allows you to harness your negative thoughts and turn them into positive energy to get you through your run.