Running Motivation for Dark, Cold Days

I'll be upfront with you, some days are easier to get my runs in than others. 

The dark, cold days can make it challenging to get out the door for an early morning run, especially when real life happens (sick kid, running partner canceled, busy with work projects, etc). The temptation of a warm bed can be a siren call, especially compared to the lonely prospect of pounding pavement with only a headlamp for company.

Now, I'm no embodiment of David Goggins' ironclad will. I am a firm believer of training flexibility — tuning in to the body's cues and that internal dialogue over a relentless "Stay Hard" mantra. Zone 6 anyone?! Yet, there's a delicate balance to strike, isn't there? Yielding to comfort too readily doesn't pave the way to reaching the goals we set for ourselves.

Floris Gierman running at night

On those particularly tough mornings when the doorstep feels miles away, I rely on a simple routine to bridge the gap between inertia and action:

 

Just Five Minutes

The Power of a Short Commitment

The strategy begins with a commitment so small it feels almost laughable: just five minutes of walking or running. It's not the distance or duration that matters, it's the act of starting. These five minutes serve as a mental contract, a bridge from inaction to action. More often than not, those five minutes turn into ten, then twenty, and before I know it, I'm fully immersed in the rhythm of my run, grateful I made those first few reluctant steps.

One Step at a Time

Avoiding the Overthinking Trap

When the enormity of the day's routine weighs heavily, I remind myself to focus only on the immediate next step. This isn't just about putting one foot in front of the other; it's about breaking down the morning routine into bite-sized pieces. Dressing in my running clothes becomes a singular focus, followed by the simple act of hydration. Each small victory in completing these tasks builds momentum, propelling me toward the door. 

Gear Up

The Ritual of Dressing for Success

Putting on my gear is a transformative ritual. This physical act of preparation is tangible proof of my intentions to run. It's a reminder that the outside conditions do not control my ability to perform; instead, I adapt to meet them. The gear becomes an ally against the chill and a symbol of my dedication.

path projects running apparel

Hydration and Nutrition

Listening to the Body's Needs

Hydration might start with a glass of water to awaken the system, followed by a hit of caffeine for that extra kick. As for food, it's about listening to what the body demands. Some days, it's a hearty breakfast; others, the promise of a post-run meal gets me through. There's no right or wrong here, just a personal dialogue with my physiology, acknowledging what will serve me best in that moment.

The Launch

Shoes Laced, Door Open

The final act is the simplest yet the most definitive: lacing up my running shoes and stepping out the door. This isn't a grand gesture; it's a natural progression of all the preparatory steps before it. The keys in hand are not just for locking the door behind me but for unlocking the potential of my run. Each step outside affirms my commitment, a statement that today, like every day, I choose progress over comfort.

Simplicity is Key

That's the crux of it — simplicity.

That's how I transform the thought of a cold, dark morning run into a series of manageable actions. The simplicity is what makes it work. It's a formula for running, and any aspect of life where getting started is the hardest part.

And so, as I write this down, it serves as a nudge to myself as much as advice to you.

If you've got your own tricks to get moving, I'm all ears — share them with me below in the comments!

Cheers,

Floris Gierman

 

P.S. here is my favorite PATH projects gear to stay warm and comfortable on my runs: 

 


1 comment

  • Great words here Floris. Simple acts, but when done in succession they amount to so much more!

    Chris L

Leave a comment