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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Winter, Polar Vortex - Stay Motivated!

I live in West Michigan and have enjoyed several relatively mild winters the past few years.  I run outside year round as I find it to be the most effective exercise for myself.  Running keeps me balanced through out the year and consistently clears my mind to tackle challenges and opportunities that arise.  In 2014, while we started to have a few rough snow days, this year seems to be more intense and longer lasting.  With the local schools closed, plows running around the clock, and a general safety slowdown in travel, the schedule of running has become more challenging.  Beyond the schedule, I have found motivation to be more difficult than normal, have maintained on track, and offer the following:


  • Schedule - maintaining a schedule for your work out I find to be critical.  Understand in severe weather it may be better to be inside to get the miles in.  When outside remember that the work is twice as hard.  The steps are shorter and more thought out, and being in the cold will burn calories at a faster pace as the body is adjusting to keep it warm.  The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. - Stephen Covey
  • Events - keep an event on the horizon to stay focused.  There are multiple events in every part of the country and have an event (goal) to show up at will keep a focus and make the goal time bound.  Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future. - Walt Disney
  • Running Groups - pair up with a group either non-formal or an organized event or both.  The team approach holds accountability.  As days look like you would rather stay inside, you will be reminded that your running buddies are out in the cold, waiting for you to build their motivation.  You don't want to be the one not showing up.  Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. - Vince Lombardi
  • Equipment - I have ran with the bare essentials for years.  This year, I changed to adding gear at the local running store.  Gear that was added was for the extremities, warmer gloves, warmer socks, and yak trax for the shoes.  Get advice from experts and then experiment, as no two runners are the same.  Obviously, I come from one background, and the people that design fitness equipment have been doing it for years and years, and they know what works and doesn't work. - Lance Armstrong
I find it essential to maintaining an exercise routine to motivate yourself, your team, pears and everyone else you come in contact with during your daily travels.  There is a lot more advice that can be given, I try to focus on three to five items.