The long winter days can you leave you feeling unmotivated, tired and miserable.  When will the sun poke it’s head out again?

Here’s a little secret: we all lose our motivation at times, get frustrated and want to throw in the towel. Living in Chicago, we not only have to endure the never-ending winter months, but we also have to make decisions on when it is actually SAFE to run or workout outside.  We must not let our, “throw in the towel, I don’t wanna days,” become our everyday.  We need to get the motivation back and move forward! Because, like it or not that race you signed up for is coming, that spring break trip you booked will require a swimsuit and that 20 pounds you promised yourself you’d lose isn’t going away by couching it until June.  

Here are 4 ways to get your motivation back:

1) Re-examine your training plan  

If you find that the workouts you promised yourself are not actually being completed consistently, it is time to adjust.  Life can throw you the unexpected, which means not every week is going to be perfect when it comes to training.  Start this week by creating a plan from now until Sunday with realistic goals of when and where your workouts will take place.  What would you like to achieve by the end of Sunday?  How will you get there?  I begin with how many miles I need to complete for the week.  Then, I break it up into how many miles I will run to complete my long, tempo and hill runs.  I will also keep track and plan for my nutrition for the week.  If you haven’t done this yet, get to it and make sure it is realistic and manageable.

2) Don’t Look Back

When you feel lousy about yourself because you skipped a workout, ate terrible all weekend or just had an awful training week… chalk it up and move on.  As I was getting through my workouts each week, I noticed I always wanted to workout harder on Monday and wanted to take off on Wednesday.  After taking note of this for a few weeks, I decided to switch my cross-train/rest day to Wednesday and my hard run to Monday.  Let your setbacks teach you, but not derail you from moving forward..  We beat ourselves up so much when we don’t follow through.  Take the day off and use that rest to come back better than ever.  Just make sure you come back.

3) Make it Fun Again

A running buddy once asked me, “How do you run for so long? I just don’t like it anymore.”  I completely understand this feeling.  Some days are going to feel like work, but know that when it gets hard is when the improvements are coming.  Take it slow.  If you are going for a longer workout for the first time, know that it is going to be harder and give yourself praise for making it to the end.  Sometimes on runs, I might think of a nice reward to end it with.  After this 12 miler, I am stopping for my favorite smoothie.  If you are completely miserable, it is time to switch it up for a bit.  Get the bike out, start with walking, try a swim or new workout class and ask a buddy to join you.  Classes or group workouts can become a permanent fixture in your weekly routine and hold you accountable. 

 4) Quick Reads, Quotes, Videos, Fun Run

Sometimes all you need to get yourself going is an inspirational story or quote.  I keep quotes in my training journal, planner, on my desk and look for new ones on my phone.  There are plenty of video clips you can bring up or interviews that can help boost your confidence.  If those aren’t making an impact, sign-up for a fun run with some friends.  With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, the spring runs are beginning to appear.  

Whatever your feeling might be at the moment, know that our clocks change on Sunday!  Which means longer days are coming.  Even though Chicago leaves us enduring the tough winter months, we are tougher people as a result!  Get out there no matter what the elements might be.  Plan well, take it slow and be proud of your accomplishments.  Everyday doesn’t have to be your best day, but you can put your best into everyday.  Ya feel me?! Onward!