During the winter, many of us are hampered by the dwindling daylight, which bookend our normal work hours. This requires us to do much of our running in the absence of sunlight, and often at the coldest parts of the day. And perhaps, you are better then I am, but I struggle to consistently train during these periods. Over the years, I have found a few strategies effective and ineffective. If these echo your experiences, I am glad I am not alone. If however, they help you in improving your results, I will be ecstatic.
Left in the Dark!
Ineffective habits of runners who never get out in the winter:
- No plan – no defined time, route or training plan
- Running alone
- Waiting until the morning to get ready
- Hoping the weather will get better
- Planning a long run
- Thinking too much about it
- Being inconsistent
- Waiting until after dinner
- Checking your email, phone, etc. before leaving
- Cuddling with that special someone
Illuminating the Dark!
Effective habits of runs who make it happen:
- Have a plan!
- Meet a friend – Seriously, are you going to be that friend who bails at 5am, NO!
- Set up a routine – We are creatures of habit and habits need time to develop
- Never let the weather be an excuse, Just Do It!
- Shorten your run – A lot of times we need to focus on quality in the winter anyway
- Have your spouse help kick you out of bed
- Prepare – Avoid the bail-out by laying out your clothes and having everything ready the night before – nothing says I won’t really run like trying to find a glove in the dark house
- ‘Brag’ about it to your coworkers, friends, etc. – Positive social pressure is a good thing
- Visit familiar trails/routes – look for the beauty in the darkness
- Start enjoying a podcast, book on tape and have this time set aside to enjoy it
- Have good gear – Solid lights and warm clothes make a HUGE difference
That’s the quick list!
How do you run in the dark, winter hours?
Share your winter routine in the comments!