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Professional Athletes Share Their Advice on Staying Motivated in Winter

As January grinds on, most of the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing colder and colder temperatures. Though the days are getting longer, the sun is up for fewer than 12 hours. The high of New Years has gone, and the excitement of racing season is too far into the future to feel significant.

Indeed, the winter months can be bleak for motivation, but don’t let this get you down! Even though racing is a long way off, winter base training is what builds the foundation of a good season. To help you stay motivated, we reached out to some of our sponsored athletes and partners to find out what keeps them going during these tough months. Here are the highlights:

michelle barton headshot
Michelle Barton

Set small goals:

“Even though there are many more races in the summer months, I make an effort to schedule a few in the winter too. Sometimes that means traveling to warmer places but it’s a great excuse to escape the winter weather!” — Katie Spotz, professional athlete who became the youngest person to row the Atlantic

“It’s important to give yourself benchmarks or events to look forward to throughout the winter. Jumping in a local running race or cyclocross race can help keep you motivated and still give you that sensation of racing that is hard to duplicate in training. Remind yourself what it feels like to really hurt!” — Drew Scott, professional triathlete who took first place at Silverman 70.3 this past November

“I see the transition to a New Year as a fresh start to wash away any races that weren’t your best and and strive for new goals, however large they may be. I set a race calendar with goals and races that are important to me. For me that would be getting better at 100 milers and getting faster overall.” — Michelle Barton, ultrarunner who holds over 2 dozen course records 70 wins

katie spotz headshot
Katie Spotz

Find a buddy:

“In the summer months, I do most of my training on my own to keep focused on my training plan with pacing, heart-rate, and power dictating my workouts. But because winter is my off-season, I am more focused on maintaining a fitness base and it’s much easier to sync my workouts with others. There’s something about being with a group of friends that can help drag me out the door.” — Katie Spotz

“It is fun to compare training with a friend if you have the same race goals in mind. It keeps you accountable to get on Strava and share data with friends.” — Michelle Barton

“Try to run with runners that are stronger, faster and better than you, so you are continually challenged and accountable. On social media, follow accounts of like-minded highly motivated people that are working hard everyday training and racing, that will keep you inspired and help you move forward on a daily basis.” — Majo Srnik, Michelle’s training partner and fellow ultrarunner

Drew Scott Triathlete
Drew Scott

Embrace the change:

“I love finding outdoor activities like cross-country skiing and then also do more weights and yoga. Also, it can be so calm and peaceful running in the snow!” — Katie Spotz

“If you live in a colder climate, don’t let yourself get bogged down when the weather takes a bad turn or become too stressed because you can’t get in a particular session you had planned. It’s a long season and very easy to become a bit consumed and forget that you still have 2-3 months before your first race.” — Drew Scott

“The body is smart, you can’t fool nature. It will adapt quickly if you work hard and fuel properly. Create a weekly training plan to build up speed and mileage. Be open to treadmill work. It is a great tool when used properly.” — Michelle Barton

(Perhaps our favorite quote! Check out our blog post on SaltStick and winter training here):

“Everyone should do a sport that makes them happy and whatever sport that is eat a lot of SaltSticks doing it for proper electrolyte balance.” — Majo Srnik

rock cf emily
Emily Schaller

Never give up:

The most motivating advice comes from Emily Schaller who runs the nonprofit Rock CF, which is dedicated to increasing the quality of life for people with Cystic Fibrosis:

“Staying motivated to keep going during the winter is tough for most people. It’s cold, dark, easier to stay in your warm bed… But I just keep on trucking through it all! For me I know that I can’t give cystic fibrosis (CF) the chance to get one leg up on me. I have to stay on top of exercise and my nutrition so that I can continue to stay healthy and in top shape to train throughout the year!”

What are your tips for staying motivated? We’d love to hear them!

Thank you to our athletes and partners for their advice! If you want more tips, you can follow Katie, Drew, Michelle, Majo and Emily on social media or check out their websites

Drew Scott:

Emily Schaller/Rock CF:

Michelle Barton:

Majo Srnik: