Running is an activity many people in and around Charlottesville love to participate in. No one can argue that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the country and what better way to experience it than by foot? What I love about running is that it is an activity that is accessible to people of all experience levels, ages and walks of life. From people training for their first 5K to those competing to PR in their next ultra-marathon, Charlottesville is a very welcoming community for runners. Staying motivated through the winter months can be difficult. We may set goals for ourselves that are thwarted with a few days of below freezing weather. Proper attire, preparation and motivation can help get us through the dreaded winter months.
Staying warm through our long, early morning runs is vital to staying healthy while running. Tights, gloves, hats and ear warmers are great ways to maintain proper body temperature while getting in some miles. A gentle warm up to get our muscles moving and to prevent strains is also a good way to stay healthy.
Motivation can be one of the biggest hurdles to staying active outside during the winter months. I have a few tricks that help me stay motivated when it is more tempting to stay in bed. When I became more serious about running, I was living in Lynchburg. I had a group of friends who decided to start a Facebook group to encourage running within our group. I figured that I wanted to hang out with these girls and, if running was going to be a way we could do that, then why not? It was a group that encouraged new runners to start within a judgement-free zone as well as to motive long-time runners to reach new goals. Pace and distance did not exclude anyone! From there, running became a passion for me. When I moved to Charlottesville, I found other groups to keep me motivated. A running partner can work just as effectively. You don’t want to be the one who cancels when someone else is waiting, do you?
Another way I find it easier to get up and keep moving when the weather is frightful is signing up for races. Charlottesville and the surrounding areas have a lot of great races throughout the year. The 10 miler, the Charlottesville and Richmond ½ marathons and the Women’s and Men’s 4 milers are just a few of the races you don’t have to travel far to participate in. However, many of those are during fair weather. You may have to search a bit harder or travel a bit further, but winter races are out there. Fun holiday 5Ks are a good way to stay motived (and get the rest of the family moving too). Being committed to a race is a great way to combat the cold weather blues.
No one would argue that deciding to run on a warm sunny, summer morning may be an easier decision that a cold, dark one during the winter, but with the right steps in place, you can continue your training through the winter.
If you have taken a break, are new to running, or are dealing with an injury, come see a Move Better physical therapist for a running evaluation to ensure pain won’t hold you back this winter season.