I'm not a runner, but I often see runners in my town out there in the worst of weather conditions. Last weekend I saw a guy running down our Main Street during a blizzard! What's the deal with these people? Why do they force themselves to run during blistering heat waves and frigid ice storms? - Missing Something Here
Someone asked me recently "How do you motivate yourself to get out and run every day?". I gave her one of those "deep contemplative looks", and answered in a slow, deliberate, even paced voice: "I don't know".
"You don't know?" she spouted. "What do you mean you don't know? You run every day, there's got to be some reason for it! Why would you do that to yourself if you weren't motivated?"
I took a deep breath, exhaled, and again in that same annoying drawn out fully enunciated phrasing spoke "I don't know, I just like to".
Which, actually, is the truth. There used to be a number of goals which sparked motivation for my running: weight loss, lowering my cholesterol level, and general health improvement. Around the time I first started running, I managed to drop about 70 pounds of flesh off my carcass, having had reached "maximum density". My weight loss was a necessary action as a means to the extension of my oxygen processing years. Later, my motivation turned to my 5-year-old son, in an effort to impress upon him the importance of dedication and hard work.
Today my motivation goes unnoticed. I run solely because I really enjoy it, and nothing more. I'm no more motivated than is the typical human who feels motivated by hunger to consume food several times during the day.
Thus is it, I suspect, with most true runners. Chances are great that, if observed through a blizzard or heat wave, your runners are in training for one race or another. Chances are greater that your runners are merely desirous of the run itself, and have come to enjoy the miles upon miles. We sometimes elicit deep theatrical sighs prior to a run in a blizzard or heat wave, but we know that at some point (for me it's 20 minutes into a run) the supposed anguish will fade and the choice for having gone for the run will be appreciated.
Which isn't to say that motivation is a bad thing, but it doesn't explain why you're seeing runners fighting the adversity of the environment when they could be warm, cool and cozy within the confines of their abodes.
As for you, non-runner, I'd encourage you to consider the idea that once you've achieved a certain level in the sport, you might well benefit from a daily run as we do. Get out there and give it a try. Get hungry for it. Start out using motivation to get you out the door and one day you'll find yourself doing five miles in a heat wave.
Don't be concerned about what other people might think as they stare at you from their air-conditioned automobiles wondering why you'd ever want to suffer through your activity on such an inhospitable day. When you've reached the point where running is your passion and one of your daily joys, you'll find that there's very little that "mother nature" can throw at you to prevent your daily communion with the road.
Then people will wonder "what the deal is", with you.