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


New Year, new me?

Five days into the New Year, most of us have already decided on our New Year’s resolutions. Some haven’t “officially” started yet because they are still on holidays and it has to start on a Monday. Some have already broken them because they reached too high. I have a friend who refuses to make New Year’s resolutions because she feels like she should better herself every day of the year.

I’ve already known my New Year’s resolution for a while, to work up my running endurance so I can complete a half marathon next month in one piece. How quickly time passes! Thankfully, I didn’t slip too much during the holidays and continued my workouts despite eating far too many goodies.

I live right by a YMCA/YWCA and look through the windows at the folks on the treadmills every morning when I commute to school or work. As per usual, the amount of people on those treadmills has skyrocketed this week. I expect that next month it will look about the same, and the month after they will be back to normal. I’m all for making a commitment to get in shape for the New Year, but it’s a crazy hard thing to accomplish in a dark, gloomy, and frozen solid city that is apparently colder than Mars at the moment. I have certainly been in the running shoes of those who don’t last long with their resolutions. At times, it can be a real struggle to motivate myself to bundle up and go for a run outside. It’s not like I have to get my money’s worth out of a gym membership. I’m constantly reminding myself of how great it feels afterward, especially if I power through unfavorable conditions. And let’s face it, perfect conditions are hard to come by in Winterpeg.

So what’s the key in finding a New Year’s resolution that fits? Well I don’t know! Only you know what you’re capable of. However, I’ve put together a list with my favorite tips from Gaiam Life on creating and keeping this year’s resolutions.

  • Recognize a job well done and reward yourself for reaching milestones on the way to your goal. If you don’t trust your will power, reward yourself with something that doesn’t contradict your goal. For example, rather than eating an unhealthy meal as a reward for weight loss, reward yourself with a new piece of gear or athletic wear.
  • Be persistent and it will only get easier. It takes about 21 days to form a habit, and about six months to be ingrained in your personality.
  • Make your goals known. The more you tell friends and family members, the more accountability you might feel to continue with your goals. Finding a buddy with the same resolution is a great motivator. There are also apps for just about everything such as My Fitness Pal—a calorie counter, workout tracker, and online community to motivate friends.
  • Be realistic. I’d even set the bar low. Why? When you reach a goal, you can go on to set a new one. It’s better to spend the whole year working towards easier goals and continually surpassing them than to reach too high and give up entirely.
  • What are the consequences? If you slip up, don’t beat yourself up. However, plan in advance what your expectations are for yourself and what are the consequences if you don’t give your resolution your all. Call a friend? Practice positive thinking? Extra effort next time? Make it work for you.