Staying motivated when you don’t have a finish line

I started plugging in my car a week ago. It wasn’t even December. It’s not even officially winter for three weeks. It’s not fair. This is what it means to be a Winnipeger.

I’ve already read a handful of articles predicting what the weather is going to be like this winter. I think many Winnipegers (including myself) labour under the cozy delusion that this winter isn’t going to be as bad as last winter. It’s pretty hard to get worse than last winter. Whatever helps us sleep in the subzero, frigid night I suppose.

Personally, I find myself still recovering from last years brutal winter. The side effect? I have absolutely no desire to run outside. Whatsover.

I know, I know, I’m a wimp. A sham even, as I sit here discrediting my own blog. Allow me to explain.

I’m not exactly the best role model when it comes to running. My routine mainly consists of two things: training for a marathon full force, or hardly running at all. To combat that, I try to compete in a race at least once a year. When I’m really feeling it I do a half marathon, when I’m not I’ll do a fun run. I haven’t decided on my next challenge and therefore I’m struggling to find the motivation to even hit the treadmill, never mind run outdoors.

In this apathetic phase, I am turning to the advice that I have once given others, but forgotten for myself.

1. Motivate in the way that’s best for you

2. Baby steps

Totally simple, yet easy to forget.

For me, I’m not motivated by having a workout buddy. I am motivated by signing up for a class with a starting point and end point. I am not motivated by sharing my progress (kms, weight loss) with others. I am motivated by giving myself accountability like announcing a challenge on this blog.

For me, the best way to combine what motivates me with starting small—baby steps— is to finally decide on my next challenge. So I have decided that my next running goal is to run the 26th Annual Brita Resolution Run in Winnipeg. If you haven’t gathered, it happens on New Year’s Day every year, no matter how cold the weather may be. For me, this is the perfect ‘fun’ run to start off the New Year.

Check out info on the run here:

What motivates you? How to you keep a regular routine? No matter how cold it is outside, motivating your mind can be the biggest challenge in winter running.

For more advice on motivation, check out this article on


6 thoughts on “Staying motivated when you don’t have a finish line

  1. It’s hard isn’t it? I have no love for a treadmill so I have to go outside.
    I guess what motivates me the most is knowing that I will feel much better for doing it.
    Thanks for the tip about small steps, I guess we all forget the obvious sometimes 🙂

  2. Living in MN, we get brutal winters as well (but not as bad as Winterpeg). Two years ago, I develloped an ankle injury that derailed me for several months from running on icy and unsafe roads. Last year, most of my winter running was indoors (hated that), and it looks like I will be doing the same thing this year. The first snowfall was forteen inches which was slush, then driven over, partially melted and then frozen solid. The roads around me are either a thin film of ice covered with snow that you can barely walk on safely, and uneven ridges of ice that you can easily roll an ankle. I don’t mind the cold, but I won’t risk injury like that again. There may be a thaw this weekend which might allow the roads to be cleared, but I doubt that it will be enough.

    I am motivated by having events in the near and distant future. I have 3 races on New Years Day (1500 m, 5k, 10k) here in MN (wind chill was -30F the last two years, but they manage to clear the roads), and the Houston Marathon mid-January. I don’t know how I will get the marathon training done. Running 20 miles on an indoor track is my idea of hell. After that, I have my off season, with only one half marathon in March before ramping back up for the Pittsburgh Marathon in May. After that, I have about 25 events lined up for the 2015 season. When it’s on, I use each event as preparation for the next. Bling keeps me motivated…

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