How to Keep Your Motivation for Cold Weather Running

Cold weather running can be a struggle for many people.

No matter where you live in the country, the weather is undoubtedly starting to cool down.

The farther north you go, the colder it gets. Below a certain point (which is different for everyone), motivation to get out and go for a run in the cold starts to wane.

Just because your motivation is fickle, doesn’t mean your miles need to suffer. By stuffing a few tricks up your sleeve, having the right gear and the right reasons, you can keep logging miles all winter long!

How to Keep Your Motivation for Cold Weather Running

Why Should You Keep Running in Colder Weather?

First, is there a good reason to keep running through the winter?

Depending on where you live, all the area races might be clustered in the spring, summer, and fall. If you’re lucky enough to live farther south, there might be a few races scattered throughout the winter.

Running through the winter is less about racing, and more about keeping your fitness at a reasonable level with maintenance miles. By keeping up your base mileage throughout the winter, you’ll be able to jump right into spring race training with speed work when the weather warms up again.

Plus, sustaining your mileage through the winter will help you continue to burn extra calories and keep your holiday weight gain to a minimum. I always feel better around the holidays if I stick to a workout schedule.

It is SO MUCH EASIER to get “back into a routine” if you never actually let yourself slip out of your normal routine!

Keep Your Motivation Warm: 6 Tricks for Running in Cold Weather

Now that you know why running through the winter is a great idea, let’s talk about some great tips to help you get out the door and enjoy your runs.

Get the Right Cold Weather Gear

You must have the right gear to run in the winter. It makes a world of difference.

Get yourself some long, warm running tights, tall socks to go underneath and keep the cold out, long sleeved performance undershirts, and a jacket to keep you warm, but help wick sweat away and (hopefully) keep you dry and warm. Additionally, I love having a headband to keep my ears warm and gloves to keep my fingers from freezing off.

Cold Weather Running Gear to Keep You Warm:

Enjoy your shopping spree and get excited to run in the cold!

Set a Spring Race Goal

What’s the point of running through the winter?

To keep your fitness up and get ready for spring race season!

Set a spring race goal to help keep you motivated and give you a reason to log those winter miles. Even better, REGISTER for that spring race now, while entry fees are still low. Once you register, then you’re committed to chasing down your running goals and getting ready for that race.

Or, you could set the goal for a winter race.

Keep in your spring race in mind each time you head out the door. Think about how you are building your fitness now while most other runners are only running in fair weather. You are going to be so much farther ahead of where you might otherwise be come spring!

After a solid winter building your base mileage, your body will be ready to tackle speed workouts in the spring and conquer your race goals.

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Warm Up Before You Head Out the Door

You know that cold, chilled feeling that you get when the weather is chilly and you really just don’t want to step out the door?

That feeling used to keep me from running outside in the cold.

As it turns out, you don’t feel the cold as much when your body is already warm. Instead of freezing for the first 10 minutes of running while your body warms up, do a solid warm-up before you even put your jacket on and step out the door.

5-10 minutes of jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, lunges, and planks can help get your blood pumping and muscles warmed up before you step out into the cold.

 6 Tricks for Running in Cold Weather

Download an Audiobook to Enjoy on Your Winter Runs

Sometimes, you need to give yourself an extra little carrot to help enjoy your time running.

One of my favorite treats is listening to a good audiobook on an easy run or a long run. Audiobooks can help you gain perspective on life, entertain you, and even teach you more about running.

I love listening to audiobooks because they take my focus away from the cold and off onto the content of the book.

Audible is my favorite source for audiobooks.

When you’re logging your maintenance miles in the cold, this is the perfect opportunity to let your mind get lost in an audiobook.

Change Out of Wet Clothes as Soon as You Finish Your Run

As SOON as you finish your run, change out of your wet clothes. Take a minute or two to stretch if you need to, but if you sit around in wet clothes while your body temperature cools back down to normal, you will get the chills and start shivering.

I have personally made the mistake of staying in wet clothes too long, and it’s not fun. My body gets chilled and it takes me hours to warm back up.

Changing into warm, dry clothes (or just getting straight into a warm shower) right away after a run is the perfect way to prevent the chills after a run.

Don’t delay. Change out of wet clothes right away.

Have a Treadmill Backup Plan

When it’s just too cold or icy to run outside, you need a solid backup plan.

Last year, I bought a treadmill to keep in my house as a backup plan in case it was too cold, wet, or icy outside. This way, I really didn’t have a reason to skip a run.

The treadmill is what part of my “no-excuses” plan. I’m going to get my run in either way, so would I rather do it on the treadmill or outside?

Hint: I really despise running on the treadmill, so I’m usually going to head outside for my run unless it’s REALLY cold or icy and dangerous. Or, sometimes I’ll use my treadmill if I need to get my run done extra early and its dark/cold outside in the mornings.

Have a treadmill available as your “no excuses” backup plan, whether it’s in your house or at a local gym.

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What is your favorite part about cold weather running?

Run Happy,


About Me: I’m Alexis, Founder of RunningMyBestLife! I am an avid recreational runner, half marathoner, wife, dog mom, busy professional, downhill skier in Northern Utah. My mission is to help new enthusiasts fall in love with the sport of running. I believe that running is a catalyst to taking control of your life and living your best life by design. Learn More –>