Finding the motivation to run outside during the colder months can be difficult, especially when you’re up against snow, ice and wind. In these conditions, convincing your family to join you might seem impossible. However, there are a few ways to get them up and moving without raising your voice or lying about the temperature outside.
Get fit together and boost your motivation with helpful tips that’ll make cold weather running seem like a walk in the park.
During the winter months, it’s better to give yourself more time to warm up than cool down. Before you hit the trails, actively stretch your muscles with total-body movements like jumping jacks and high knees.
Incorporate dynamic stretches like walking lunges, torso twists and leg swings, too. Introducing consistent movement will warm up your muscles and your entire body so you don’t feel so cold when you start working. Plus, it’ll maximize your range of motion and prevent injury.
When it comes to staying dry and warm, strapping on some high-quality footwear is your best bet. Prevent soggy socks before they lead to frozen feet with a pair that boasts weatherproof features and has good reviews from winter-loving runners.
Many brands sell Gore-Tex versions of their most popular styles. Look for ones that come with lugs on the outsoles to guard against slipping and sliding as well. Whether you’re hitting slushy sidewalks or icy roads, you can run confidently in these shoes.
Of course, you’ll also want to protect the rest of your body from the elements. Layer up with a moisture-wicking base layer that’ll keep you warm and dry. Top this shirt with a vest or jacket depending on the weather, along with a windbreaker if you’ll be facing strong gusts.
Wear tights or heat-capturing leggings and socks that won’t absorb sweat. Then, put on a hat, gloves, scarves and any other layers you think you’ll need. If you get too hot, you can always take one off.
Running in cooler temperatures often means that you’ll sweat less. However, if you’re keeping a consistent pace, you’ll still lose some fluids. Therefore, it’s important to stay hydrated during your runs, no matter the season.
Bring water bottles or sports drinks to replenish your fluids and electrolytes or hit the drinking fountain between each lap. Remembering to drink enough water before and after your run will boost your performance, protect your body from injuries and accelerate your recovery time so you can get back out there sooner.
If your family has a hard time keeping one another accountable, schedule a run with friends. Knowing you have to meet someone at the park or you’ll get to see someone you haven’t chatted with in a while might just get you up and moving. You can’t leave your friends hanging, right?
Invite a family friend so they kids have someone to converse with, too or invite their little pals along for an especially memorable run. Odds are you’ll all have more fun with impromptu snow ball fights, snow angels and races down the street.
Sometimes, all you need to convince your family to get outside is an enticing post-run reward. Think hot chocolate, a warm fire, pizza or a family movie night. Motivate yourself and your kids by promising to do their favorite activity or order their favorite food, but only if they lace up their shoes.
Of course, you probably shouldn’t reward yourselves with sweets and screen time after every run. However, these things can be powerful motivators when you need them to be.
As tempting as it is to come inside, make a hot coco and warm up on the couch for an hour, you should change as quickly as you can after a run. Yes, stripping down to nothing will only make you colder, but that warm shower should be motivation enough to take off your sweaty clothes.
If it isn’t, just know that the longer you stay in your running gear, the likelier you are to deal with clogged pores, jock itch, athlete’s foot and even yeast infections. Gross!
Sometimes, it truly is too cold to run outside. Maybe you’re up against a blizzard or negative temperatures and don’t have the right clothes to fight off the chill. On these days, it’s best to stay inside and focus on strength and flexibility exercises.
Get the whole family involved and try an online fitness class. Let the kids choose or pick one you know everyone will enjoy. Frequently taking days to try something different or strengthen other parts of your body will improve your speed and endurance and give your family other types of movement to look forward to aside from just running.
Running in the cold is no easy feat, especially if your kids and reluctant spouse are tagging along. Therefore, it’s important that you stay flexible and practice patience. If someone gets cold and you have to cut your run short, try to stay positive and try again tomorrow — in an extra layer of clothing, of course.
Maintaining this flexible mentality will help you keep your cool during family runs and ensure that everyone has such a good time that they’ll want to go again.