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Winter Running Motivation: How to Stay Motivated During Fall & Winter Running

A woman staying warm during winter running.

The change of the seasons from Summer to Fall can bring a feeling of excitement; cooler weather, falling leaves, holidays, and for many of us, pumpkin spice. However, it also brings shorter days, darker mornings, earlier sunsets, and colder running weather which means you might find it extra challenging to summon the motivation to run or train for your next race.

If you’re like me, this period of change can be difficult to adjust to when it comes to winter running. I often find myself less motivated to run in the fall and winter due to the lack of sunlight and colder weather. I hit snooze more times and find it difficult to wake up when it’s still so dark outside.

But, if you’re signed up for a spring race or just want to maintain your running routine, you’ll be doing a lot of fall and winter running.

Here’s the good news: there are ways to keep your running motivation high and stay consistent during the cooler months of fall and winter.

Here are a few tips to keep your running motivation on track during fall and winter running:

1. Set a specific goal to maintain running motivation

As a running coach, setting clear, specific goals is one of the first steps I take with runners. Having clear, achievable goals can provide you with a sense of purpose. Consider signing up for a winter race or setting a target for the spring. Knowing you have something to work toward can keep you motivated to train during the colder months.

Turkey trot race during winter running.

I love signing up for holiday-themed races throughout the holiday season to help keep me on track. I’m one of those crazy runners up bright and early on Thanksgiving Day doing the Turkey Trot, no matter what city I’m in!

I also love finding a great spring race to ensure I’ve got a goal to work towards throughout the winter. This goal helps me avoid the snooze button and get out of bed when it’s still dark outside.

2. Find a buddy to maintain running motivation

Find a running buddy or join a local running club/group. Running with others can provide accountability and make those cold, dark runs more enjoyable. You’re less likely to skip a workout when you have a commitment to a friend or a group.

Running group for running motivation.

I used to run exclusively indoors during the winter because I really don’t like the cold. However, once I joined a local running club, I found myself excited to run outside in the winter because I enjoyed the company of other runners. It made long runs during the winter less daunting, and I actually now look forward to them!

3. Plan ahead

I cannot stress enough how important it is to plan ahead. Not just a day or two but a week or two at a time when it comes to fall and winter running.

Knowing your schedule and availability as well as the weather can prevent you from skipping runs to do poor planning or an unexpected snowstorm.

If you’re looking to maintain consistency by planning ahead of time this fall/winter but find it difficult due to your busy life, download my FREE workbook that will help you schedule running into your day/week in a way that feels natural.

4. Gear up

Investing in proper cold-weather running gear can make all the difference when it comes to running in the cold.

Having the right clothing, including moisture-wicking base layers, insulated jackets, and warm accessories like gloves and hats, can make running in the cold more comfortable and enjoyable. When you’re warm and comfortable, you’ll find you’re more likely to stick to your routine.

Speaking from personal experience, investing in a pair of thermal pants can keep you warm when it's freezing outside.

Other than cold weather, it’s important to be prepared for running in the dark. With the sun coming up later in the morning and setting earlier in the evening, you’ll probably find yourself running without much light.

It’s important to both SEE and BE SEEN. This means you’ll want a light that allows you to see the path in front of you. You’ll also stay safe if you can be seen by other runners, bikers, and of course, cars.

Here are two of my favorite products for running in the dark:

Light for running in the dark or winter running.


Reflective light for running in the dark or winter running.


Keeping your running motivation high and maintaining consistency when the season changes can be difficult. But it doesn’t have to be.

Setting specific goals, finding a buddy or a group, planning ahead, and getting the right gear can help you stay on track with your training and crush your spring race! And don’t be surprised if you find yourself starting to enjoy fall/winter running!

If you find yourself stuck with a big loss of running motivation this fall/winter despite trying these strategies, sign up for a free discovery call. We can chat and I can provide more tips to help you stay on track and consistent with your running schedule, so you can crush all the running goals you’ve set.

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