Running 101: How to Be Motivated to Run and Train in the Winter

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | running tips

Feb 08

Does running in the winter sound crazy?  Maybe it is…or maybe it’s the most amazing thing ever.  Can you guess where I stand?

I love running in the winter.  It’s okay, you can call me crazy.  But if you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I can’t stand running in the heat and humidity so this time of year is perfect for me!  I also love the fact that there are far fewer runners on the trail so running outdoors can be a much more peaceful experience!  Still, sometimes it’s tempting to just stay inside on the couch, especially after a long day!

For those of you who struggle with the motivation to run or are trying to get started to run this winter, I thought it would be helpful to share my tips on how to make running a routine this time of year.  This post is the kickoff to my Running 101 series on the blog!  If you’re a more advanced runner, there’s nothing wrong with using this as a quick “review class”!

Here are the other posts I’ve written for Running 101:

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

You CAN start a running routine in the winter - check out how in a few simple steps! #running #runchat Share on X

Staying motivated to run is tough, especially when it's cold outside! As part of the new Running 101 series at Run With No Regrets, learn the steps on how to start a running routine or training plan in the winter! More running tips at!

Starting a Running Routine in the Winter

I’m so excited to kick off my Running 101 series on the blog!  Since starting Run With No Regrets nearly 4 years ago, I have received so many messages from readers who are curious about how to get started with running and/or keep up their motivation.  I’ve enjoyed sharing my training recaps, race recaps, product reviews, and various discounts and giveaways, but I want to also get back to the basics.

If you’re looking for ways to make running a habit, I got you covered!  I’m sharing a few steps that are essential to creating a running routine this winter.  This time of year can be especially tough to stay motivated, but if you follow these steps, it’ll help you keep focused on and committed to your running goals!

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Figure Out Your Goals

Why do you want to start running or training this winter?  Only you know your reasons.  Before you head out the door or sign up for all the races, think about your goals.  Is running a race one of your New Year’s Resolutions?  Were you previously a consistent runner and you’re looking forward to getting back?  Are you returning to running after recovering from an injury?  We all have different motivations and it’s so important to make sure that they are positive and attainable.

To use myself as an example, my long-term goal is to stay injury-free so everything that I do has to ensure that I remain healthy.  On the short-term, I would like to run a sub-2:15 half marathon this year.  My goal races for the spring are the Love Run Half Marathon in March and the Buffalo Half Marathon in May and I’ll several other races along the way.

Create a Schedule

How many days a week can you commit to going for a run?  If you make running part of your everyday life, it’ll feel less like a chore and more like a habit!  I have a Passion Planner and every week, I record my mileage for each day that I plan to run.  It has worked wonders!  Personally, I find that having it written in ink makes it more concrete, but if you prefer organizing on your cell phone or tablet, use whatever system that works best for you!

How frequently should you run each week?  Start where you feel the most comfortable.  For me, that’s 3-4 days a week.  If you schedule 3 runs a week when you can only realistically run once, you’re setting yourself up for failure.  Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself!  It’s all about creating a routine and being consistent!

And please BE FLEXIBLE!  We all know that life doesn’t always go to plan.  If you create your schedule in advance, it’s a lot easier to adjust to unexpected events.  If you have to miss a run (or two) on a given week, do what you can to get back to schedule the following week.

Find a Local Running Group

City Fit Girls in Philadelphia – when the group was small!

Running in the winter can be daunting, especially if you live in an area that is not runner-friendly and you have to go it alone.  Finding a local running group is a wonderful way to encourage you to keep running in the winter while meeting new people with similar interests and struggles.  All you have to do is Google “Running Club [Your City/Town]” and see what pops up!  It can be a little scary going somewhere new, but there’s nothing like finding a tribe that “gets it”.

You may also like:  Running 101: How to Build a Support System As a New Runner

I also have a post about how to join a running group if you find the process to be a little bit intimidating!  All running clubs aren’t created equal, so it could take some trial and error to find the “perfect” group…but it’s a lot easier to run when you know 10 or 20 other people will be going through it with you!

Take Advantage of the Treadmill

Running outside in the winter, depending on where you live, can be a piece of cake, a miserable experience, or somewhere in between.  And in some places, you may have these extremes in the same week!  For the yucky days when you just can’t bear to run through the snow, wind, and ice, the treadmill is your friend!

Here are just a few benefits of treadmill running in the winter:

  • You safely avoid icy/wet conditions
  • You can avoid running on a dark evening
  • You can entertain/distract yourself with a book or TV
  • You don’t have to layer up to go on your run

I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve had a few days of winter running on the treadmill.  Sometimes it’s simply the most convenient way to run.  And sometimes it gives my legs a little bit more of a break.  If going to the gym and hitting the treadmill is the best way for you to get in your runs consistently then by all means, go for it!

But if the thought of even stepping on a treadmill is dreadful, here are some tips on how to make the most of the treadmill!  Just take your time!

Don’t Give Yourself An Out

Don’t bank on making excuses to skip your runs!  Leave a set of running shoes and/or workout clothes in your car or in your office so that you’re always prepared.  Keep yourself honest by letting others know that you’ll be running on a given day.  If you need someone to check in on you to make sure you’re running, just ask a trusted friend! They’ll be happy to cheer you on!

I can’t count how many times after a long, hard day I’ve wanted to skip my run, begrudgingly headed outside to get it done, and as soon as I got started realized that I made the right decision!

But on the other hand, I also can’t count how many times I’ve felt guilty for skipping a run.  Bottom line:  life happens!  Just because things don’t go to plan on a given day, that doesn’t mean you should quit!  Don’t let any minor setbacks stop you!   All you can do is keep moving forward.

Starting running isn’t easy, especially in the winter time, but it can be a really rewarding experience if you make the effort!   Running takes a whole lot of patience and consistency before it feels routine.  It’s something that we all go through!

Consider Working with a Running Coach

This winter, I’ve started working with Coach Laura and so far it has been a fantastic experience!  I enjoy working with a professional because I know that they have the knowledge and expertise to help me reach my goals.  It requires a lot less stress on my part!  Honestly, if I didn’t start working with Laura this winter, I would have scrounged to find an online training plan that would not have been suited to my specific needs.  I’m really excited to see how things go as I get closer to my first races of 2017!   If you’re interested in working with Coach Laura, mention “Janelle at Run With No Regrets” and you will receive 10% off your first month!  

I’m linking up with Ilka and Angela for Sunday Fitness and FoodSusie, Debbie, Lora, and Rachel for the Running Coaches Corner and Annmarie, Nicole, Jen, and Michelle for Wild Workout Wednesday!

Have you been running or training this winter?  What has been your biggest challenge?

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