How to stay motivated about running in winter

Get your gait on no matter how much of a battle the weather outside presents.

When it’s a war zone of weather out there, the world’s simplest sport is difficult. Running might supercharge the endorphins, massage out any stubborn creative blocks and replace those weekly therapy sessions, but when you are cocooned in a feather duvet and the sun isn’t due to rise for at least another hour, it’s easy to see why bed conquers this much loved outdoor pursuit.

Mindset is what separates those who remain in the cocoon and those who charge out the door, facing rain, hail, sleet and wind. The benefits are largely psychological; battling the elements helps to keep the dreaded Seasonal Affective Disorder at bay, while the rush of endorphins encourages you to mull over life-altering decisions while you pound the pavement and frosty grass. To get started, strategically organise running dates several days a week, as there’s no wimping out when a shivering friend is waiting. If that’s not doable, tell yourself that you can retreat indoors after five minutes if it’s really that bad. Chances are you’ll keep at it.

There’s more to see and do out running in the fresh, frigid air than there is burning rubber on the treadmill, but to keep from swaddling yourself in cashmere and watching box set after box set, you’ll need to be gear prepared. If it can be zipped up and zipped down, is waterproof and windproof, it’s suitable for a chaotic Auckland winter season. Choose socks made from fabrics that wick away sweat, and if it’s really biting out there, running gloves too.

Once dressed, don’t go outside straight away, warm up inside to get the blood flowing. If you have stairs, run up and down them, pick up a jump rope, or prepare with a few leg swings. When you do start running, shorten your stride initially for more control while your body adjusts to the change in temperature. Do any sprint work or slippery hill climbs towards the end of your run when you’re really warm.

Our pledge to run through winter starts now and if you need to upgrade your running routes, check out our city guide here. We’ll be the ones out there sporting frozen, euphoric grins on our faces.

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