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  • Writer's picturerganderson915

6 Motivators to Get Out the Door - Winter Exercise Edition

Welcome to the blog! This week I wanted to share some tips that motivate me to train in the winter in case they can help you too.

It's been cold in Minneapolis lately, and the cold sometimes makes it harder for me to fire up and get out the door. It has gotten easier over the years to motivate now that training is such a habit, but I still have times that it feels like pulling teeth to get out there.

I’ve felt a little less motivated this past week, so I’ve been thinking about some small things that make a big difference for me. Here is a day in my life, year round:

Wake up 7

Eat breakfast

*Ski or run for 1.5-3 hours (depending on the time of year)

Shower, eat lunch, nap (.5-1hr depending on time of year)

Work for CXC

*Ski, run, or lift for 1-2 hours

Shower, eat dinner

Something social, maybe


Go to bed 10

That adds up to a lot of training sessions - sometimes its easy, and sometimes it feels hard to manage. Here are a few things that have helped motivate me, at least lately. Maybe some will work for you, too. I tend to run on the colder side of things, so some of these might seem a little extreme, but I swear by them!

1. Wearing toe warmers.

I wear toe warmers EVERY day. I can’t explain the joy I feel when my feet are noticeably cozy instead of frozen, and I would recommend it to anyone who has ever had cold toes. I put them on top of my sock and inside my boot. It makes skiing more fun, and probably has the same effect walking/ running/biking too if those are more your thing. I also wear boot covers to block wind.

2. NOT being bold and starting cold

One of my least favorite sayings of all time is “Be bold, start cold.” While this might be good advice for how to dress in some situations, it is also miserable, and a good way to start dreading skiing. I decided to ignore this advice for most of my winter training - or at least when it's pretty cold. I always start warm, which means overdressed, and then I shed layers after I warm up (10-20 min). Not everyone likes this strategy but I do!

Essentials for being super warm: neck warmer/buff, something to cover your face (I use an AirTrim to warm the air, but you can use a buff, too), hat and FULL coverage of the ears, base layers made primarily of wool, wind block layer, mittens instead of gloves, and starting out with a puffy layer. I always wear my down jacket until I warm up.

This can be hard if you aren’t doing laps or don’t have a great place to leave clothes, but it’s so nice to avoid being cold. It’s okay if people make fun of you, it’s worth it.

3. Fig newtons in my pocket.

I always bring snacks, and eat them every hour of training. I feel better when I do this, and I also have something to look forward to. It’s no fun to get hungry when you’re skiing, and the body needs food! Especially when it’s cold. I also put Tailwind or Gatorade powder in my water, and drink every half hour. Being fed and hydrated seems like common sense, but actually doing it is key.

4. Meeting a friend

I have found that it is 800x easier for me to get out the door if I am planning to meet someone. Whether it is guilt, fun, love, obligation, whatever, that motivates you to show up for them, having a ski/walk/run buddy is the best. Most of my social life is combined with training these days which is helpful for both realms.

5. If no friend, music

Headphones can be super helpful when you are most bored. I don’t always love listening to music when I’m skiing, but sometimes it is just the right stimulation - especially on a treadmill or in a place that is not especially scenic. My all time favorite time to use headphones is on a night run (be aware of cars though).

6. Logging training

Having a time or distance goal beforehand, and then recording what you do, is something that is somehow super satisfying for me. It doesn’t work for everyone, but I love seeing the numbers. It keeps me accountable and makes it “worth it” to get out the door.

There you have it. Thanks for reading, and I hope one or more of these can help you, too!

Here I am comfortably sitting in the snow thanks to my head to toe puffy layers :)

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