I’m a total hypocrite to be offering you a list of tips to keep motivated to run this winter, since I’m on about week four of an unplanned hiatus from running that I hope to end just as soon as I kick this cold. I’m hoping these words will help motivate me as much as they drum up some running inspiration for at least a few of you.
1. Buy yourself some quality, warm running clothes. Once November rolls around and it’s clear that summer’s not coming back, wearing technical running clothes that breathe and block wind and even rain will seriously help you out on the motivation front. Yes, it’s sad to put away my cotton cowboy shirt and jean shorts for another summer running season, but, I must admit, I’m looking forward to hitting the local running shop to buy some new duds that will keep me warm as it gets colder outside.
2. Find a running companion. This could be a friend, significant other or four-legged partner to help keep your motivation level up when the thermometer drops. Or maybe it’s a new, light-weight music player to keep your energy level charging while you grind out the miles over snowy, icy trails alone. Either can help give you the inspiration to tell that voice in your head, the one that’s whispering that it’s time to turn around 20 minutes into your run, to shut the hell up.
3. Get a pair of traction cleats for running in slippery conditions. After successfully dodging slippery sections of snow and ice on a neighborhood run a couple winters ago, I rounded a corner a few blocks from my house and went flying across a sheet of black ice, limbs scattered in all directions like I was busting out some terrible breakdancing moves, and ending with my ass hitting the frozen cement. Once I realized I’d somehow avoided breaking anything, I slowly trotted home and went right out to buy a pair of traction cleats. The stretchy rubber cleats (there are several different kinds) fit right over your running shoes and help keep winter breakdancing while you’re running to a minimum.
4. Register for one race or fun run each month. Nothing beats signing up for something and committing to it in public to keep you honest. Invite a friend or two to sign up with you for these runs:
- The 2nd annual National Veterans Day Run November 15 will take place at Riverfront Park with the start/finish line in the Clocktower Meadow (the run starts at 8:11 a.m.). Choose from three distances: 11K, 5K and a 1-mile family and supporter walk/run. This is the first race ever to take place simultaneously in several different U.S. cities and around the globe on the same day under one united cause: raising money for veterans’ causes (this year it’s Operation Gratitude that sends care packages to those serving in the U.S. military) and showing our appreciation to our military men and women. Veteransdayrun.org/register/Spokane.
- Before the turkey and mashed potatoes, run the annual Turkey Trot and help other people in our community meet their food needs. This free, two-, three-, or five-mile run starts from the picnic area across from the Manito Park Duck Pond on Spokane’s South Hill. Start time is Thursday, November 27, at 9 a.m. Bring donations of food or cash to Second Harvest Food Bank.
- Spokane’s 8th Annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk to benefit the Arthritis Foundation will take place on December 6 this year, starting and finishing in Riverfront Park (start time is 8 a.m.). It is the largest holiday themed event of its kind in the nation, and holiday themed costumes are encouraged. The festive, philanthropic event includes a 5k run, 5K walk and 1K children’s run. Spokanejinglebellrun.org.
5. Commit to a training event or group run. Fleet Feet’s 11 week Winter Warrior program for walkers and runners that includes social runs, educational seminars and themed runs for all abilities and experience levels was created to help people stay active and motivated to keep on running and walking through the winter weather months. Sign up and join group runs, themed runs and events and earn points and win prizes along the way ($25 registration fee). Based on the number of points you’ve earned, you’ll score various running swag at the end of the program. The kick-off run is the annual Black Friday Pancake Run on November 28 at 8:30 a.m. at Fleet Feet Sports Spokane. Fleetfeetspokane.com. //