The days are getting shorter, the mornings are getting colder and our beds are soooo cozy. On top of that, we’ve crushed our goal races this fall. Why even run anymore until spring?
Honestly, we can think of plenty of reasons to stay tucked into the bed this time of year. And it’s no secret that keeping up our running or exercise routine is an important part of staying healthy both mentally and physically, and getting a jump on the spring running season. When it’s colder and darker out, and the hectic-ness of the holidays can add stress, it’s great to have something that will reduce our anxiety and get us outside — not to mention burn a few of calories from the extra snacks and treats that seem to be more available this time of year.
We put together some ways for you to stay motivated during these cold, dark months. Try them and see what works for you!
Add Accountability With a Group
We love our group runs! Working out with other people helps our accountability and motivation, that’s for sure.
The great thing about the active community of Charlotte is that there are many places to find a group that fits you. Weekly run clubs are still happening, folks! runCLTrun has a comprehensive list of them, and we even did an article
Charlotte Running Club is also a large club with members of every shape and fitness level. Check out their Facebook page to see what they’re up to!
Take On a Challenge
The popular running app Strava offers challenges to keep you going. Their Challenge Gallery has something for everyone! Charlotte-based Human Powered Movement, keeps us moving, um, by our own “human power” with challenges each month. Right now it’s Holiday Streaking.
Have a different app? If you use a Fitbit, look under the Motivation tab on their website. If you prefer MapMyRun, you’ll find challenges under the Community tab. And the ever-popular Pacer offers challenges and communities under their Support tab.
Expand Your Social Circles
Social media can be a huge distraction but is still a great way to stay connected. Platforms like runCLTrun have a fabulous family of runners who are great motivators! Simply follow the account on Instagram and Facebook, and use the hashtag #runCLTrun to find an instant circle of support. This is one of the very best things about our running community — they’ll encourage and motivate you without ever having met you!
If you like podcasts, you can hear some of the best local insights from players in Charlotte’s running community on the Running Around Charlotte podcast. Listen to local stories about adventures, racing, everyday runners who are making an impact, and our Novant Health Charlotte Marathon Ambassadors, who all have wisdom to share.
Get Your Family Involved
A family that moves together doesn’t drive each other nuts over the holidays. Make time to get outside together. Or, if traveling, be sure to pack your running gear before you hit the path over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house.
And if you have kids, you probably wonder how to get them to join you. Try these tips from professional coach, 22-time Ironman finisher, and father of 5 Jamey Yon. School- and community-based running groups for kids are also a great start. Try Girls on the Run and boys’ Let Me Run to teach them confidence and healthy living tips through running! (P.S. Those groups can always use coaches, which give you an extra reason to go out and run twice a week!) There is a special joy to seeing your kids keep up with you on your run. Not so much when they outrun you, but you will feel some pride…
Change the Scenery
Maybe you need a change of scenery or another challenge. A good hike will work your legs and make you sweat just enough, without the usual pavement pounding. We love our list of trails around town and beyond to get you started. You know where else we love? The North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville! A lot of trails and great views to choose from.
Working Out Indoors is Not Wimping Out
Running isn’t the only thing that matters, right? Use the coldest, darkest days to do your indoor work — strength training, yoga, Zumba for some rhythm, stationary bike, swimming, and even a treadmill. There are many gyms to choose from across a region as large as Charlotte, and even one that does good work in our community — the YMCA of Charlotte. It’s a nonprofit that gives back, so your membership counts for more than just you.
After you come home from your run, that warm shower, a cup of cocoa, and fuzzy socks will feel even better!