What will keep you moving in 2021?


Motivation can be hard to come by in the North during Winter. Motivating yourself out the door when the wind is howling, the snow is flying, and often it’s bitterly cold. Then there’s all the layers — you just feel weighed down. Or is it just me?

The things that normally motivate me in Winter — the post run brunches, the handful of races, the occasional racecation around my birthday — they’re not things I can do in 2021. Or even did in 2020. So what can you do to stay motivated? I went looking for some running challenges to tackle. They are endless, and once you start searching, of course even more will pop up in your FB feed.

Here’s a few you can consider, and also search on your state. Because every state has a challenge or two.

Run Across America Winter Warmup
Choose your goal to run/walk 50km, 100km, or 250km before Daylight Savings on 3/14. Your $45 entry includes either a long sleeve tech shirt or a winter beanie. Medals are extra. It sounds like a fun challenge, although a bit pricey for what you get. They will match your donation to their charity of choice, Feeding America. Sign up here.

2021 Invincible Challenge
The 2021 Invincible Challenge was designed to keep you moving all year. This challenge is totally flexible to your abilities and goals. You can run, walk, cycle, swim, or row the miles in any combination you see fit. All exercise miles count, indoors or out. Select either MILES or KM.

I have to admit I think the tee designs are cool. I know I’m not doing 2021 miles. But 2021 KM? Reasonably priced at $32 (includes just the tee), but no charity component. Sign up here.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Winter Mile Club
All Winter Mile Club Participants will get access to a 12 week half or full marathon training plan (including mobility, stretching, strength), you’ll log miles on RunSignup to show on our leaderboard, will receive our awesome Boco Gear Winter Beanie, and receive an exclusive Customized CSWS Running Mileage Goal Sticker with your accomplished mile tier.

It’s pricey, again, $50 for a 3 month training plan — plus $7.50 shipping. But I do like a training plan (even if I’m probably not running a Spring half). Sign up here.

I Live to Run Gold Challenge
Run/Walk 500 and/or up to 2000 miles in 2021. $50 for a tee and medal, $34 for just the medal. I’m not a bling-driven runner, but it’s a cool medal. I don’t think it’s cool enough to pay $34 for, but maybe you will. Sign up here.

Race Through the States Challenge
Each month, race through a different state and get a medal representing that state. You choose the distance for each “race”. 20% of your registration goes to feeding America. You can purchase a tee separately. Sign up here.

The same company has a similar challenge with Zodiac signs here. Actually, they do have a lot of cool themed virtual races that can keep you “racing”, including their Neptune Challenge (here) which allows you to pick a running/ walking goal for 2021.

Jenny Hadfield’s Winter Warrior Challenge
This challenge aims to keep you running strong through the Winter, and includes: 3 virtual races of varying distances; nutrition, health, and training tips; access to Jenny’s training plans; a finisher’s medal; access to Jenny’s warm-up, cool down, strength, and stretching workouts. It’s $49 for the Winter Challenge or $147 for the full year. Sign up here.

Zooma Run Club
The Zooma Run Club is free, and you can pick your mileage challenge. You can also choose to pay for some swag, but you’ll get the camaraderie, the mileage trackers, and the monthly challenges for free. Sign up here.

AMR Many Happy Miles
AMR Many Happy Miles is a year long program. It includes a training journal, monthly workouts, guest coaches, expert workshops, and a lot more! It’s $185 per year. Sign up here.

Final Thoughts
There is a challenge out there for everyone! From free to inexpensive to a bit of an investment. One of the good things to come out of 2020 was all the way runners and race companies were forced to get creative. Will I sign up for one of these? Stay tuned.

I have also come up with an easy challenge for myself in 2021: walk outside every day, unless I’m injured, or am getting sick, or am actually sick — or the weather is really too dangerous to walk outside. I already do this for the most part; Bandit gets walked most days. There are days it’s too cold for him to walk outside, though — but not necessarily too cold for me (except for that dog mom guilt he always gives me when I walk out that door).

I need gentle challenges, because I tend to cling too tightly to them sometimes. I just need something that will push me to do a little more. Anyone want to join me?

Have you ever signed up for a challenge to keep you moving?

Have you participated in a state themed challenge in 2020? 

Do any of these challenges sound interesting to you? 


Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.


28 thoughts on “What will keep you moving in 2021?

  1. A great selection of challenges, Judy! I’m excited to see which one you sign up for!

    And I like your additional personal challenge of walking outside every day. In winter, with all the ice and snow, it can be tempting to stay indoors.

    I have an ultra coming up in March (if it happens) so that is keeping me on my toes for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Pandemic for keeping me at home. Since March 17, I think I have walked every day. I hope to continue that (without any challenge).

    That being said, I like yearly challenges and ones that involve running only.

    So I signed up for the NYRuns one – it’s all year, you don’t have to connect to a device and you set your own goal (mine is again 1000 miles).

    I also signed up for the ZOOMA one (as an ambassador I have to support them) but only the free one – don’t need any more swag.)

    Last year, I did the NYS one with the Sole Sisters (FOMO) and also the ZOOMA one (for the same reason as above.)

    There is no shortage of challenges out there which is great if someone needs the motivation to get out the door.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are many, many challenges and despite my post I’m not signed up for one right now, LOL! Also many state challenges.

      I’m not motivated by mileage at all, but everyone is different. I think we all need a little extra motivation in the Winter, though!


      1. Agree. It’s hard to get out there in the dark. Or in the cold. Glad that so far it hasn’t been a cold winter. Still very early though.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice selection of challenges. I may look into the Zooma one. I’ve been on Squadrunner for a few (?) years, where you’re part of a team and there are both individual and team challenges each month, with points given to each individual and team. For right now, that’s about all of the challenges I’m part of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everyone is different, and everyone is motivated by different things. Some people don’t really need help with motivation — and some people really do!

      I typically don’t really need help with it, but I like to be “challenged” a little here & there.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. These are all great, Judy! I signed up for a club on Strava for riding 2,021 miles in 2021, but haven’t registered for any running challenges.

    Interestingly, about 30 years ago I organized a program called Run Across America at the health club where I worked. Participants had to log their miles in a log book at the gym and every month I’d total them. Once they’d logged 2,800 miles they’d get a coveted cotton t-shirt. Note that 30 years ago equal hand logging, hand counting, and receiving a cotton shirt. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was just saying to Bill the other day how hard it is to get myself out the door in the wintertime. Last winter was very mild here. We only had 4.8 inches of snow. I am hoping for another winter like last but I doubt it will happen twice in a row.

    I did sign up for the Zooma challenge. I’m too cheap to pay for one! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t signed up for anything yet, LOL! Although there’s actually a local one i will probably do. It’s inexpensive & the proceeds go to charity.

      I don’t like Winter, pretty much ever — unless it’s 60 degrees like it usually was in TX — but I think we’ve actually been rather lucky so far. it’s often much colder by now.


  6. These are all such great challenges! I have heard of a few of these. At this point I haven’t signed up for any challenges. I may need something to help me get through the rest of the winter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t signed up for anything yet either, Lisa. At some point I know a little extra motivation will be good, though. I’m lucky, I guess, that I’m not really that motivated by bling, and definitely not by mileage — I do like a new tee now & again though! I wear them to sleep in or as a layer under my regular clothes; or to work out in.


  7. There definitely is something for everyone. Something that I just thought of, when you mentioned walking outside everyday, is to do “21” minutes of outdoor activity everyday. I’m pretty sure I’m already on track with that one…but there may come a day when I don’t have a run on the schedule and want to just hang with the elliptical or indoor bike. Stay tuned…I have to ponder this one a bit more LOL Thanks for the inspiration!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why 21 minutes, Kim? I’m curious. Did I miss something?

      Most days we do walk Bandit longer than that, but there are days that are too cold for him, but I can suit up in my hideous down blanket coat & I’m ok.

      There are usually a few days a year it won’t happen because the weather is truly to bad, and I’m ok with that.


  8. These are all great challenges. I love winter running and getting out there in the cooler weather invigorates me. I am also aiming to get out for walks on my non running days. It always feels good to get some fresh air

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does always feel good to get fresh air! I usually stick my head out the back door after my morning yoga and take some deep breaths.

      This year I also crack a window no matter how cold it is to get fresh air in — something I never, ever used to do — but gotta get that ventilation in the house!


  9. I try to stick with monthly challenges that offer a little more flexibility. For now, I try to run or walk daily, and I added a 31 day plank challenge. I feel comfortable with that.

    I did do a state of Florida challenge in 2020 and that was really fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My local running store is having a challenge where you “run” to multiple breweries or wineries and then get a glass as your prize. It’s cool to see the creative challenges that people are coming up with!

    Liked by 1 person

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