The pros show us how they run through the winter months...
For many of us, running has become the perfect way to adventure while staying fit and sane. However, as winter sets in and the days shorten, heading out for a run can seem more like punishment than a pleasure. We asked 7 SunGod Ambassadors and full-time runners to share their secrets to staying motivated during winter...
1. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Recommended by Matt Rees
Matt is an elite runner and coach set on his journey from injury back to full fitness and a sub 2.20 marathon. He turns to his love of data to keep him running through the winter months:
I am really motivated by self-improvement. One way to help motivation levels during the winter months is to track your progress from week to week. Seeing progress keeps you hungry and allows you to visualise the athlete you can become if you maintain consistency through the Winter. Get creative with what you track, it may be how fast you can run up a local hill, or how efficient you are at an easy pace. There are lots of apps and watches on the market aimed at helping you measure progress on your runs, experiment to find one that works best for you.
Follow Matt’s adventures: @thewelshrunner
2. FOLLOW A STRUCTURED PLAN
Recommended by Farai Louis Samunyai
Former sprinter-turned-distance-runner Farai is dedicated to a life of chasing PB’s and smashing marathons. So far he has 4 major marathons under his belt including London and Chicago. Meticulous planning is what keeps him focused in winter:
My number one tip for staying motivated through winter is to follow a structured plan. For me, setting a specific amount of time to try and achieve a specific goal and planning every session is the best way stay focused. It also allows me to make adjustments to future sessions based on how my body responds to the plan early on. This keeps me on track to meeting my targets and keeps me lacing up my trainers to head out on each run, knowing I will be one session closer to my goal!
Follow Farai’s adventures: @shutter.runner
3. FIND YOUR CREW
Recommended by Charlotte Clarke
Personal trainer and ultra runner Charlotte Clarke has a packed calendar of ultra marathons for 2021 so staying at peak fitness through winter is essential.The social aspect of running keeps her powering through winter:
My top tip if you’re struggling to stay motivated would be to run with a friend or join a running club. Knowing you’re heading out with others will keep you accountable and can make even the most miserable of weather more fun! You don’t have to join an official running club, there are plenty of local social running groups of like minded people. Above all, keep in mind that great rewarding feeling you get after a run!
Follow Charlotte’s adventures: @charlotteclarkeuk
4. ENTER SMALL LOCAL RACES
Recommended by Josh Holman
Triathlete and multi-sport coach Josh Holman competes in long distance triathlons, marathons and half marathons. He uses small races during the winter to keep motivation levels high:
To keep focused on my goals I enter local races during winter. Having a race to prepare for makes it easier to keep training and allows me to hold on to that competition buzz all year round! Knowing you have a competition to prepare for will keep you psyched to go training and you can use these competitions as an opportunity to race against yourself as well as others.
Follow Josh’s adventures: @ironman.josh
5. REMEMBER YOUR ‘WHY’
Recommended by Marcus Brown
Marcus knows a thing or two about motivation and he's been chasing a sub 3-hour marathon since he began running. 20 marathons later, he finally achieved a time of 2.56 at the Virtual London Marathon 2020. A positive mindset propels him through the winter months:
You started running for a reason and you keep running for a reason. During my sub 3-hour race I was thinking, if I can get through this year, what am I going to be like for the next race? It’s fuel and it’s a massive confidence boost. I kept telling myself, this is my time. This pain is temporary, but the result will be permanent. When you feel like staying inside this winter, push through it and remember why you started running. You can’t push away feelings of doubt and low motivation, but you can talk back to them!
Check out Marcus’ marathon survival guide here. Follow his adventures: @themarathonmarcus
6. REMOVE ALL TEMPTATION NOT TO RUN
Recommended by Rich Williamson
Running machine Rich Williamson is the embodiment of motivation. Currently almost 230 days into a 360 run streak (yes he has run every day for the last 230 days), he shares his advice for getting outside when it’s the last thing you feel like doing:
Remove the risk of making excuses not to run: Lay out your kit the night before so you’re not fumbling around in the dark trying to find it the next morning. Nail your warm up routine inside where it’s warm so you’re ready to close the front door and hit the ground running. Finally, scope some good routes that are safe to run in the dark or bad weather. For your return, leave a towel by the door, kettle full and ready to boil and a treat in the fridge ready to devour - you’ve been running intervals in the driving rain, you deserve it!
Follow Rich’s progress: @richwillrun
7. FOCUS ON THE DETAILS
Recommended by Fabian Hornstein
Triathlete and ultra runner Fabian Hornstein, is not satisfied unless he is laced into his trainers. Currently the German Xterra champion, attention to detail is what keeps him motivated through winter:
When it’s harder to go on longer runs, I find the winter is a good time to focus on my technique and work on the smaller things. For example, film yourself running, find 3 weaknesses and work on them! This could be anything from your breathing, to your stride length, body position and so on. You can also consider adding in a sprint session once a week and focus on getting your times down! Finally, get your running playlists dialed in – I try and listen to a different one every day to keep things interesting!
Follow Fabians adventures: @fabi_horni_tri
The arrival of winter doesn’t have to limit our adventures; it’s about adapting to the new season and embracing the change it brings. So, no matter how you choose to motivate yourself this winter, enjoy the experience and progression! If you’re struggling to make gains this autumn, check out the 4 most common running mistakes and how to solve them.