So. It’s here… My 9 months of winter running has showed up early and now that 3AM alarm looks even worse to me… 32 degrees (Fahrenheit) wasn’t the funnest and definitely not when it’s the first week of September! Someone asked me how I stay motivated to keep getting up early and running in the cold.

Here’s my tips to get up, get dressed and show up at 100%.

1. My goals are bigger than my excuses. Sub 25 hour Leadville 100 is top of mind. The last thing I do before bed is look at my board and get that nice reminder of why I’m in bed at 9 and why that alarm is going off at 3. I mentally and physically have a want to perform at my peak level and I’m willing to do just about anything to get there. I might fail, but it will be because I’m not good enough, not because I didn’t put in the  massive persistent action.

2. Have your clothes ready! I can’t stress enough how important it is to have you gear ready to put on right away. There’s two reasons.

One- It’s easy to grab in the morning and it will limit your ability to talk yourself into staying in bed. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to talk myself into the comfort of my bed because of the “difficulty” of finding my workout gear. Take the temptation to go back to bed out of the equation.

Two- It’ll save you marital problems. Haha. Well not really haha. When your partner isn’t excited to hear your alarm go off and then has to listen to you stumble around looking for your gear and then when you can’t find it you turn on every light in the house, it can stretch patience farther than it has to. (Have you ever noticed the most simple motions are a thousand times louder in the early morning?!) Save yourself the argument, just prepare a little better.

3. Have the right gear. I like new running gear! I’m always trying something new and wanting to see the next best thing. My essentials are gloves and a warm upper body. I’ll wear my Altra shorts until it’s about 0 degrees and then I’ll cover them up with a pair of wind pants. (I’m not a tights kinda guy;) Gloves and hat are key. Once my hands go, I’m done for! I have several pair from super light to ski gloves that I’ll wear and they are the best investment for me. I’ll wear anything from my altra Stash jacket to long underwear covered in a sweatshirt and a windbreaker over top of it all. I may look like the Michelin Man but at least I’m warm!

4. Get over the weather. It is what it is. If it’s hot it’s hot. If it’s cold it’s cold. You can’t change the weather so you just have to show up and get to work anyway. Believe me, I’m not looking forward to the -20 degrees in 90 days and I know many of my southern friends are looking for some relief from their 100 degree runs. We can all complain as much as we want but don’t use it as an excuse to skip out on your run. Embrace the discomfort because that is what will make the difference on race day or with your fitness and health progress.

5. Stay focused. Once you get out of bed and go through your routine, realize and remember that the weather ALWAYS looks worse from inside the comfort of your home. Once you get outside it isn’t as bad as you thought. Reward yourself with a pat on the back and get ready for next time. Gain some momentum from this win and use it to springboard your future successes!

A big part of motivating yourself to run in the cold is self talk. What you tell yourself will make all the difference. If you tell yourself negative things, you will act in a negative way. If you tell yourself positive things, you’ll act in a positive way. Find something positive to focus on. Maybe it’s meeting friends, maybe it’s a cup of warm coffee when you’re done or maybe it’s the satisfaction that you are working toward your goals. Whatever it is, embrace the suck and get to work. Your goals aren’t going to accomplish themselves.

Run Epic my friends!

Published by Gary Stotler

Gary Stotler is a father, running, fitness, weight loss and personal development addict. Formally 400 pounds, Gary has naturally lost 200 pounds, created a coaching & speaking business and has become a 100 mile ultra-runner. Holding a degree in Psychology & Sociology, certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer, mindset & behavioral modification coaching, a certification in DISC personality assessment coaching and he is a certified speaker, coach & mentor with the John Maxwell Team. Gary firmly believes, if we take One Step at a Time, nothing is impossible. He is determined to let his actions show people what is possible and hopes to help you shake up your thoughts, change your actions and create your future.

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1 Comment

  1. Great post, Gary! I understand about having clothes ready. That is so helpful. And, the quicker you change the better, before you talk yourself into being wanting to stay warm. Thankfully, I have a separate bedroom that is my dressing room space, so I don’t every have to wake my husband up at the crack-o-dawn! Keep up the great work!


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