How to Motivate Yourself to Lace Up When the Temperature Starts Dropping


You want to run all winter long, right? These reader-sourced tips will get you there.


As fall quickly fades into winter, it’s easy to skip a run to stay bundled up on the couch. But taking the winter off can make for a rough spring. In an effort to find motivation to bundle up, we took to Instagram to ask our readers what keeps them motivated to layer up and hit the pavement (or hop on the treadmill) during the chilly winter months as the temperature drops and the daylight hours shorten.

Whether it’s signing up for a future race to keep your goals on track, holding yourself accountable by running with a friend, or looking toward the promise of a hot drink after, here are 33 ways these runners get their miles in even when it’s more tempting to stay by the fire.

Find a Fellow Cold-Weather Lover

“Agree to run with someone else. Don’t let them down—encourage them to stick to the plan. Warmup before you leave the house—mountain climbers and burpees will help when you hit the fresh air with inner warmth.”— mac.l.83

“My dog; works every time. She loves to run, so we run together.”— ktlu14

“I volunteer to take dogs from the humane society for a run. When it get too wet, icy, and cold, I hit the TM. I get hooked on binge-worthy show and ONLY watch when I run.”—

“When we decided to add a dog to the family, I purposely chose one that is high energy so that he’d get me out the door running until it’s not safe for us weather-wise (living in Canada there are a few winter days that aren’t good for either of us).”— ajmichalak

Layer Up

“I just need gloves, a beanie, and those neat headband/earmuffs/scarf things to keep over my neck/mouth/nose. Warm up inside before running out the front door!”—minimelini

“Fleece-lined tights, a buff over my face, and never forget the goal. Motivation doesn’t last. Dedication does.”—cupcakelifter

“Getting out the door is the hardest part! Layer, but don’t overdress! My favorite is to run outside when there’s about an inch of snow. Love the way it feels under my feet!”—tpa5454

“Bundle up! My goals are more important than the discomfort of the weather.”—anthonyjdelia

“Find the right gear. Nothing better than fresh cold air and being bundled up!”—capitalrunnergirl

Get Gear You Want to Show Off
An Athletic woman jogging in the winter.

“Think of how much it sucks to run on the treadmill. Also, get some cute (and good quality) cold-weather running gear.”—kaitlyngv

“Good gear and fresh air makes all runs better! It only feels cold for the first mile and then it’s pure bliss. Outside or bust.”— bridgetmcguire73

“Find your favorite route and layer up, be sure to include at least one fun cold weather accessory that you can’t wait to show off!”—jrzchrisy

“Treat yo’ self to some new, warm running layers and go to it! Like many have said here, it’s only cold for the first mile!”—strongtr

Catch Up on Shows
Low section of woman exercising on treadmill

“Sadly, it’s treadmill time, but I catch up on movies and TV shows.”— espxc

“Ugh, I struggle with this big time. I usually just stick to the treadmill and some Netflix.”—monica_evans_photography

Have a Warm Treat Waiting
Caucasian woman running on snowy road

“My all time favorite winter running (and hiking!) tip is to make a big pot of soup/stew/chili in the slow cooker beforehand so I can warm up with a nice, hot meal when I get home. It is seriously so satisfying and what made me fall in love with winter running. If that fails, I make plans to run with a friend (or my cold/snow-loving dog) to keep myself accountable.”—kristyandpatronus

“I always have my clothes ready and go to sleep dreaming about how good that first post-cold-run cup of coffee is going to be!”—clowe34

“I look forward to throwing on a warm sweater afterwards and having a hot coffee with my running buddy.”—lorettahenoud

“It’s my favorite time to run! What motivates me usually is looking forward to a nice hot chai latte after and snuggling up.”—runningsteady_atx

“Running with my husband. We run year-round. In Colorado. Brrrrr. It doesn’t take long to warm up, plus then we can get hot chocolate afterward.”—stitchsgirl

“Fun run hats! I get all layered up then do some jumping jacks until I’m too warm…then the cold feels good! ? Then a reward of a warm beverage when I return.”—elizabeth5wells

Have a Race on the Books
Young man running on the field

“Races on the calendar! I try to have at least one a month so there’s something concrete to work toward.”— shill_as_f

“[The] faster the warmer! Also running buddies and registering for races.”— yaseminkg

“Enter races.”—ellenmariep

[From training tips, to fueling strategies, to improving the mind-body connection, the Runner’s World 2020 Calendar will help you run your best all year long.]

Remember Why You Run

“I find it harder to motivate myself to get dressed in a billion layers to run in the cold and face the mountain of laundry after than actually run in the cold. Generally I love coming home and getting cozy after a hard effort out in the cold. It’s that much more rewarding somehow and feels very well-earned. So I’d say remember how good it’ll feel to warm up and cozy in following, even if it’s just a few minutes before work or what have you.” —the_grainne_mhaol_shuffle

“My motivation for running in the cold is to look at the cold differently. It is fun to run in cold weather because you get to dress up in a baggy sweatshirt, and wear the comfiest clothes. I love to run when it is snowing, and there is no wind. It feels like a warm blanket. Those are the days that I go longer distances because I can’t really feel the pain. It is peaceful.”—hailey_0225

Mental health. I know that no matter how much I will dread the cold/dark/snow before heading out, I will not regret exercising in the fresh air and it will make me feel much better physically and mentally.”—akzanto

Embrace the Cold
Golden retriever dog running on fresh snow

“I love running in cool weather. It is my reward for running in the heat all summer.”—cjruns2

“I remind myself that it isn’t 105 here in Austin anymore and thank my lucky stars.”—myclueis

“I don’t look at the weather app.”—nicolesasss

“Enjoying the gorgeous snow-covered scenery! (and throwing the occasional snowball at my running buddies).”— raechelkathryn

“I remind myself that I’ll feel like a badass afterwards! People are really impressed when they hear that you ran in subzero temps! #streetcred…literally.”—heatherrln

“Positive peer pressure! We have a silly chart at work, where you get a star next your name whenever you head out for a run. And we post the temperatures for each day, too, for extra bragging rights (it was a balmy 16 today!)”—goatsheepllama

A true love for sports

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