At first, you might be a fair-weather runner. It’s certainly easier to go for a refreshing jog in gorgeous summer sunshine, right? But once you’re hooked, your addiction to running will carry you right through winter – and that’s where the magic happens… If you’re having a little dip in motivation as the month wears on, remind yourself why running in January is a beautiful thing.
Getting mentally tougher
Once you’re out and running, you’ll feel great. But there’s no doubt that hauling yourself out of bed in the dark, or going back out in the cold when you’ve just come home from work in a gale, is not easy. Use this month to toughen up your mind. Don’t accept excuses about being tired, or scared of the dark, or cold. Run right through January and you have yourself a cast-iron habit that will last all year.
Watching the days get longer
You have to run through the tough times to really appreciate the good. If you waited until spring to run, you’d miss out on some real magic: watching the days get a little bit longer, and a little bit longer, until your dark morning runs become stunning sunrise runs or you witness your first post-office-hours sunset of the year. It may seem to be dark for months, but every day we’re gaining a few precious minutes of light – and when you run, you make the most of every one of them.
Laying solid foundations for the year
It’s hard to talk yourself into running fast when it’s freezing outside, but there’s a flipside to that: this is the perfect time of year to build up a fitness base for the rest of your training. Whether you want to run a marathon, so you need to build up your long runs, or you’re after a 5K PB, you need that low-intensity build-up before you can start ripping into interval sets. So go out, admire the scenery, have a chat with a running buddy as you go, and then look back in a month’s time and realise how strong you’ve become.
Being able to use all our lovely layers
Perhaps you’re a thrifty runner, or a bit strapped for cash – in which case you could skip this point. Some of us, though, are a bit addicted to buying beautiful running kit, from sumptuous merino wool baselayers to sharp, fitted jackets and mind-blowing patterned tights. For most of the year, no matter how much you’d love to wear it, most of this warmer stuff just stays in the bottom of the drawer. After all, you warm up pretty quickly when you’re running. But in the depths of January, when you’re heading out in sub-zero temperatures at least once a week, you can bring it all out – at once! There’s no better feeling than knowing you’re ready to take on the elements.
Having more energy
It would be easy to hibernate from October to March, as lower levels of sunlight make us naturally feel more sleepy. Running will help you hold on to your energy all through the darkest months – especially if you can manage the odd lunchtime effort to bag some vitamin D when the sun’s at its highest. Even running in the dark will give you a shot in the arm that helps you feel stimulated all day long. What are you waiting for?