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Runners often feel blue during winter for two reasons: feeling cold and thinking about feeling cold. Daylight hours are shorter, temperatures are colder, motivations can be fleeting, so how can you combat winter running blues? As a high school athlete, winter running is part of the gig. Cross country post season is in mid-fall, and the beginning of track is in winter. I won’t lie and say it’s hard to want to run sometimes, but there’s ways to fight of the emotional and temperature blues to continue running.

Being a student-athlete has a perk that I often take for granted, having a training plan made for me. Having a schedule to stick to keeps me accountable and sets aside a chunk of time everyday for me to commit to. The first couple runs may be a bit of a trial-and-error to figure out what works best to keep you warm, find your paces, and find times that work best for you, and that’s okay! Once I establish a rhythm, it makes me feel accomplished and energized because it becomes a habit. Training plans don’t have to be intense or complicated, they can simply be chunking out times of the day to do a long run, an up-tempo run, and a recovery run then repeating that cycle. If you are looking for a challenge, have a time goal you’d like to reach, or just want to make some new running friends, you should join our Run Club! Members of the run club get exclusive benefits like a free shirt when joining, 15% off almost all products, local race discounts, and training plans! The $50 fee is nearly paid off with two pairs of shoes, so if you treat yourself to something past that like some new socks (Injini is my personal favorite) you enjoy saving money for the rest of your year-long membership!

Finding a buddy to run with is another great way to combat those blues (and can be a great reason to join our Run Club if you live in the area). While it won’t make your outside warmer, it’s sure to warm your feelings as you bond with your running buddy. There’s two reasons running with a buddy can help. The first one is that you will probably look forward to seeing them. When a dreaded workout is coming up and my motivation is low, knowing that I have teammates that are going to cheer me on and push me through is enough to make the anxiety go away. Having one or more running buddies takes the edge off of running. You have someone to talk with, keep you on pace, or to show off your sick new kicks to, and make the run more enjoyable overall. The second reason is the same as your training plan, accountability. Everyone agrees to take some time out to run and make it enjoyable. Running with friends makes me feel safer, and I think many would agree. Having a buddy means that if something happens and you hurt yourself, you already have someone there to assess what to do and keep you safe. If you decide to go on a trail together, it makes breaks fun, allows you to carry more snacks (arguably the most important part) , and can help you back on your feet if you slip like I do. A great way to meet some new people who share your love of running is coming to store runs. Saturday store runs at the Sparks store and Sundays at the Summit host their runs at 8 a.m. There is a weekly track workout on Wednesday mornings at 6 a.m. that meets at the Hub on Riverside/ Reno High. Our strong community is built on the principle that everyone can run and live an active lifestyle, so we have various routes ranging from easier to harder. You can also enjoy a 10% discount after store runs on most products after attending the run (if you haven’t already joined the Run Club). You also get to see your favorite run specialty employees which is the true reason we know you come.

When the run itself isn’t the most rewarding aspect and the other reasons in this blog aren’t enough, you can resort to my personal favorite technique: food! I believe you don’t have to earn the right to treat yourself, but after a run you especially should treat yourself. Treating yourself after a run is all the sweeter in winter. Having something hot waiting at home like coffee, tea, soup, oat meal with whatever you desire, or even a hot chocolate. There’s plenty of recovery nutrition out there, like the recovery varieties of Skratch, Nuun, and Spring Energy that we sell, but most of them don’t give you that warm feeling by themselves inside like these do. If it’s not convenient to have a meal afterwards, it’s more than worth while to me to throw in a hot drink to make you feel good all around with your post-run snacks. If you can have a meal, that’s where the soup or oatmeal comes in nicely. If it’s a morning run, I usually like to make oatmeal with fruits, nuts, and cinnamon to meet the carb, protein, and heat trifecta that I call, the perfect blend. Soup is that cold weather food that we all love. It doesn’t make the best early morning food for some, so if you find yourself running in the late morning, afternoon, or evening this could be a great go to. Most soups hit that same post-run “perfect blend” and should definitely be enjoyed afterwards. 

If you’re going to end up feeling cool you should definitely look cool and help minimize the need for your house or car heater to work as hard. Show off that winter running gear you have! Whether it be some new kicks, leggings, jackets, long-sleeves, beanies, gloves, gaiters, crew-cut running socks, or, equal parts cool and effective, Goodrs, let the world see that you’re committed to running while looking good doing it. The goal for running is to feel good before, during, and after your run. Gear is important in all these steps. Your gear is your first line of defense when it comes to injury prevention. I wrote about the importance of gear in a separate blog about common winter injuries, so I won’t harp on it too much here. The properly fit gear means everything is working how it should and keeping everything in place. If you’re running somewhere and want everyone to see where, post a picture next to something and gloat about the gear that Reno Running Company helped you get!

Everyone deserves to live an active lifestyle all year, and if you’re treadmill averse like I am, outside is essentially your only option. These tips and tricks make running more enjoyable overall, but especially in winter. The winter running blues are something almost everyone deals with. It’s nothing to feel ashamed of, nor should it be taken as you’re “done with running”. Sometimes we all need a little help finding the motivation to start making habits. I like to use all these, but if time is a major constraint, try one or two, and add more as you get more comfortable.  Don’t be afraid to try new things or your own variations of these tips either. What’s most important is making habits that work for you. We’re here to help and can suggest what works for us, but you know you best. Make these your own so you can own your running in every season.

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