Staying Motivated in Chicago Time Winter

It’s that time of year in Chicago when the days start to get shorter and colder by what seems like the minute. I don’t’ know about you, but this type of weather just makes me want to stay warm inside and watch a movie. As great as that sounds, it’s still really important for me to still get in my workouts. So how do you stay motivated when it’s cold and dark outside??
The key is to find something you LOVE to do. Take me for example…I love to run BUT I hate cold weather, literally HATE cold weather. You know what I hate more…not running. See my dilemma? So I run…when it’s snowing, raining, windy, below zero, you get the point. I used to switch to the treadmill in the winter months, the treadmill is great option by the way, but I just prefer to get outside.
It takes some planning to handle the weather. If you’re going to get in a run or a workout outside during the winter you need to dress the part. Base layers are a must, I sometimes have on several to keep warm – both tops and bottoms. Hats, gloves, mittens, face masks, and warm socks (all also layered from time to time) are also key to stay comfortable even in the dead of winter. AND my #1 go to is Hot Hands, they make a huge difference in staying comfortable at low temps. Invest in a few, thank me later.

Another thing to consider when it’s cold out as far as adjusting your workout goes is to really allow your body time to warm up. Our bodies simply need more time to get into any activity when it’s 20 degrees out versus 80 degrees. This will help avoid pulling or straining muscles, tendons, etc. Be nice to your body, it’s about to do a lot of work for you.

Here are a few other tips to stay motivated and how to plan and stay safe during the winter…
• Indoor workouts are a great option. Get to the gym and try out a new group fitness class, hop on a treadmill, elliptical, or lift some weights.

• If you choose to train outdoors be mindful of road conditions. Be on the lookout for ice or slippery patches of road.

• We see far less sunlight hours during the winter months, make sure to wear reflective clothing, headlamps, and blinker lights if you are out early in the morning or late at night.

• Register for a local 5k…think Turkey Trots or Santa runs. This will help keep you getting out the door.
• Consider investing in a pair of Yaktrax- awesome accessories for your shoes to wear on packed snow or ice.
• Think of all the holiday parties you’ll be going to…allow yourself to splurge on yummy treats post workouts.

• Plan a run route that takes you past homes or buildings that are decorated for the holidays. My favorite run in the winter is to take the Lakefront Path south from Addison, it’s gorgeous to see all the buildings lit up when it’s dark out.

Above all, just find a reason why it’s important to you to keep your fitness routine going during the winter. For me, it’s maintenance so when I get back into racing in early 2014 I won’t feel like I lost too much fitness. That’s what gets me out of bed early in the morning when it’s dark and cold to get my workout done. It’s something I never regret doing and always feel better after.
To help you get motivated in the morning for your run make sure you check out are previous blog on How to stop hitting snooze and get more out of your day!

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