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Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in Running | 13 comments

5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Run

Since leaving the Florida sunshine behind and moving to NYC I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned not to make eye contact with people on the subway (trust me on this one). I’ve learned to avoid Trader Joe’s on Sunday (lines are like something you would experience at Disney World). I’ve learned what black ice is (it is evil, that’s what it is). I’ve also learned that getting out to run when it is really cold is really tough.

One of the challenges I’ve faced since being dropped in the middle of the Concrete Jungle is learning how to motivate myself to get out and run (or get out at all) when it is freezing outside…or worse…below freezing. Extreme cold wasn’t a problem I had very often while living at the beach. While I actually don’t mind running in the cold (I mean, I don’t like the feel of 10 degrees, but I can work with 30 degrees), I do find it significantly harder to make myself get out the door when temps are low. In addition, I’ve also got to forgo sleep to get my run in somedays and that requires a heck of a lot of motivation these days since I have a newborn.

So, today I thought I would share some of my tips for getting out of the house to run or exercise when it is just plain hard (i.e. really cold or really early in the morning).

**Note: I am not advocating running when conditions are dangerous (i.e. black ice, heavy snow, etc) – I’m just talking about running when you know you should, but you don’t necessarily want to.**

1. Make a new playlist.

winter playlistI get so excited when I have new music to run to. Take time to buy new tunes and compile a rockin’ playlist. I also enjoy listening to podcasts or sermons from some of my favorite pastors and using my run as a time to pray and reflect. Having something to look forward to – whether it be music to jam out to or a sermon to meditate on – will help get you excited for your workout and its harder to skip something when you’re kind of excited about it.

2. Buy something new!

IMG_4324Shopping is the answer to all your problems. Okay, maybe not all your problems but it can help in the motivation department. Purchase some new piece of fitness gear to get you excited about exercising. It could be a new Garmin watch…a new running jacketnew shoes…a new headband…whatever gets you excited to get out the door.

P.S. If you have that silly expensive and crazy awesome Garmin watch, please leave a comment telling me all about it. I don’t have it so I’ll live vicariously through you.

3. Tell a friend! Or better yet, bring a friend!

run run runHaving some accountability can help keep you on track. Dragging a friend along with you is even better because misery loves company, right? 😉 On the nights when I tell Dave before bed that I’m going to get up and run I feel more inclined to actually get up and run because I vocalized it to another person. While I don’t run with a running partner anymore, I do run with Ob and I feel like I’ll let her down if we don’t get out the door somedays because she needs the exercise. I know she’s a dog, but we still motivate each other. And Dave encourages me to meet my exercise goals when he knows about them…hence, I say to you, “tell a friend!”

4. Visualize it!

Picture your run! Mental rehearsal is just as important as physical practice. Before going to bed, picture your run for the following morning. Map out in your mind where you will go. Imagine how good you will feel once you get into a groove and you’re rocking out to the new music you downloaded. Mind over matter, friends!

5. Remind yourself how good it feels after it is over!

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction that comes with completing a workout or run before the sun comes up. I personally love having such an important part of my day checked off my to-do list before my body even has time to process what it is doing. I also love walking back to our apartment after finishing a run through the park and seeing everyone on the streets all bundled up and I’m sweating, warm and smiling because one of the harder parts of my day is already over.

*Bonus tip* You could also bake cookies and then eat them all by yourself. This usually gets me out of bed and into my running shoes.

I’m sure if you’ve read any fitness blogs or fitness magazines then you’ve read these tips before (with the exception of the last one – that may be a CnC original), but there’s a reason for that. They work! 🙂

What are YOUR tips for getting out to run and exercise when you know you should but you don’t necessarily want to? 

I also think signing up for races or participating in group fitness programs (Les Mills, Soul Cycle, Spinning, Physique 57, Bikram yoga) are great ways to stay motivated during the winter months!


  1. I think a big part of winter running is being dressed right for it. . . you can run in any weather, as long as you are wearing the right clothes!! And yes, a perfect excuse for shopping. 🙂
    Katie @ running4cupcakes recently posted..TYT #5 {My 1st yoga class}My Profile

    • I’m learning that, Katie! I forgot gloves for a run not too long ago and was miserable during my entire run because my hands hurt. However, when I’m dressed right (warm but breathable jacket, gloves, ear warmers, thick socks, etc) I’m fine.

  2. I love all of these! Good tunes, an awesome outfit, and reminding myself how good it feels are super key for me. I’ve gots to look cute for me to motivate myself when the going gets toughhhhhh.
    Annette@FitnessPerks recently posted..Core Power Fit Kit Giveaway!My Profile

    • Laughing out loud at this! <3 it!

  3. Haha, cookies are totally enough to get me running too 🙂 I have to say, the way that working out makes me feel afterwards is usually my biggest motivator to get my booty moving. It really does make you happier! Side note, those black and white striped leggings are adorable. You always have the cutest workout outfits!!
    Kate @ Quarter Century Southern Living recently posted..Friday Favorites – Build Your Own Pizza Night!My Profile

    • Thanks, Kate! They are Lululemon.

      And your comment reminds me of Legally Blonde – “Endorphins make me happy!” SO true! 🙂

  4. Haha – eating a whole pan of brownies or cookies will definitely motivate me to get running outside! Sadly, it has been way too dangerous (cold and/or icy) to run outside in Chicago recently. This is my comment to convince Kyle that we need to move again. But this time to California where it is eternally summer 🙂
    Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted..#19 Treat Yourself TuesdayMy Profile

    • We are getting slammed by that Polar Vortex as I type this, so I won’t be running outside for the next several days. The low on Thursday is 1 degree and we are getting pounded with 2 inches of snow each hour right now! CRAZY!

      I’m with you – I’ve already told Dave the next time we move it will be to a place with milder winters. North Carolina sounds perfect to me! 🙂

    • Great idea, Becky! My Garmin is on its last leg and hasn’t been holding a charge so I’m about to be in the market for a new one. Mine lasted a while though…over 5 years.

  5. Lol love the cookies tip that is too funny and too true!

    I always find a great playlist and new songs motivates me to want to run and workout. As does buying new workout clothes as I want to wear them 🙂
    Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted..Thinking out loudMy Profile

    • Good music really is one of thee best motivators!

  6. Updating my music playlist always is such a big motivation booster– I just added 12 new songs yesterday!

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