8 Secret Tricks Runners Use Motivate Themselves To Keep Moving In The Winter

It's all very well and good for Elsa to claim that the "cold never bothered her anyway," but I'm guessing Elsa never slipped and slid through the frozen tundra of her neighborhood while wearing running sneakers and leggings that offer very little in the way of butt cushioning. I'm not going to sugarcoat this: Running in the winter blows. Even the most experienced and dedicated runners will occasionally wake up and swipe open their phones, see that the temperature has plummeted overnight, and utter a hasty "hell to the no" under their breath, and go back to sleep. No motivating affirmations you tell yourself are going to change the fact that we are smack dab in the middle of winter with no end in sight, and simply getting up and getting out there can be a herculean feat of will power some days.

But we soldier on, because we are masochists (or because we are terrible at all other sports, which happens to be my situation). We queue up our winter-themed playlists and don our ridiculous layers of running clothes and cheerfully earn a reputation among the neighborhood children as the local abominable snowman. In no way is it easy to get into the running groove during winter, but if you're ever short on motivation, here are a few other ways to convince yourself to hit the pavement:

Sleep in your running top

It's cold outside (news flash!), so odds are you're going to be wearing a long-sleeved shirt or a sweater when you're running. If you sleep in them they'll already be nice and warm on your body and you won't have to do the sad "I'm so cold, I'm literally dying" dance when you strip off your jammies or get up in the buff. You should lay out the rest of your outfit the night before, too.

Download these three songs immediately

  1. "Geronimo" by Sheppard, because hearing this song is like the Sims cheat code for attaining an instant runner's high.
  2. "Work This Body" by Walk The Moon, because it will make you feel like you're starring in your own workout video.
  3. "We Could Be Heroes" by Alesso featuring Tove Lo, because you are a badass and you should be told through song as many times as possible.

Bribe yourself with chocolate milk

Chocolate milk has long been heralded as the perfect post-workout snack since it's loaded with calcium and protein to help rebuild and strengthen muscle tissue in recovery, and there is no season more fitting for using chocolate as a bribery tactic than winter. You can even do what Gloria does in Modern Family and add a pinch of salt (and if you just broke a sweat, you'll actually need it).

Buy a pair of fancy workout pants

I need to emphasize that I am in no way getting compensated by pimping these pants, I just love them and want a pair for myself so bad that I'm considering selling an organ to get them. The paneling in these Lululemon pants are sheer cutouts and they are tasteful in a "yeah I am probably am a superhero, but keep it on the DL" kind of way. They look way more stunning in person and I know this because I aggressively asked the friend I saw wearing them where she got them multiple times and wouldn't stop staring at her legs the whole day (she did not skip leg day, by the way). They'll make you want to LIVE outside so you can show them off. Your "fancy running pants" don't necessarily have to be these exact ones—they just need to make you feel as excited as I am about these.

Abuse your Netflix subscription on the treadmill

Sometimes it's so icy that you can't go out even if you wanted to, which is why the biggest masochist of them all invented the treadmill. But now that we have modern technology and every episode of Friends downloaded to numb ourselves from the harsh reality of moving our human bodies, working out indoors just got a hell of a lot easier. (Pro tip: I've been watching the first season of Arrow this winter and I mysteriously get a lot a whole lot faster whenever that man takes off his shirt. Hmmm.)

Join a running group

This isn't for everybody, because a lot of us (myself included) are antisocial runners and that's just how we roll. But I have had group running experiences: My high school cross country team, and that time in college when I ambitiously started a workout group with girls in my freshman hall. And as much as I prefer running alone these days, I have to admit that we were prolifically more motivated to get up and workout when we were relying on each other to be there.

I think some people avoid this because of some misconception that all running groups are really serious and have mad running skillz, but the truth is there is a running group out there for all fitness and interest levels if you think it's up your alley. Go forth! Make human friends! (Or not. That's fine, too.)

Just don't run at all

The best runners are the ones who take days off from running and condition with other forms of exercise. Give your knees a break and go for a swim if you have access to a pool, or stay at home and do strength training with a YouTube video. (Tons of them don't require any equipment, so your excuses have no place here.)

Forgive yourself

Some days, it just isn't going to happen, and you shouldn't beat yourself up for it. I think the only stupid thing you can do after that is just use that as an excuse to give up altogether and derail yourself. Just because you broke a running streak doesn't mean the game is over—it just means you have to make an extra effort to do something the next day. And who doesn't love that little bit of motivations?

Images: Getty Images; Lululemon; Giphy (5)