During the summer months I’d spring out of bed ready for a morning run, hi-5 the postman, wave at my neighbour and pet a dog as I ventured out on my standard 5k leg stretcher. Okay, that is a big fat lie, I didn’t exactly ‘spring’ out of bed, and unfortunately myself and the postman aren’t quite at hi-5 terms just yet, even if we could. But going through the process from slumber to getting out to exercise was easier than it feels now. Roll in the chilly mornings, those horrible grey days and all of that rain, and that motivation has began to crumble. How can you push on to stay motivated during the colder months with your fitness? This is what I do.
Give yourself a goal
I struggle big time without having a goal. During lockdown after training a ridiculous amount for triathlon, I lost my direction. Many did too, but I fell royally off the fitness wagon which I hate to admit, but it happened. I got myself an Echelon bike for some home workout motivation, and began to rebuild what I’d let go.
I started building small goals into my weekly routine, things like, can I beat my cadence on this Echelon ride I’m doing, or by the end of the week I need to have completed so many classes. My point is, get a goal but it doesn’t have to be signing yourself up for a marathon, give yourself small, medium and longterm goals.
Small goals are good to give you that quick reward fix, but having a bigger goal is always good for that overall motivation. I’ve entered the swimathon, a virtual race and a couple of triathlons next year. These will give me that longer focus I need to push on with training in the colder months.
Kit yourself out
My summer training gear has officially been packed away, now all my long sleeved tops and winter specific training gear is out! Investing in decent training attire for winter exercise is not only good to keep you comfortable and warm during training, but it instantly makes your feel motivated. Who doesn’t love new fitness wear?! Plus if you’re warm and comfortable that is one less thing to concern yourself with.
I love both trail running and road running, so I’ve got trainers for both kinds of runs, which allows me to pick and choice the kind of run depending on my mood. No excuses!
I’m not a huge bookworm but I will say that when I started reading autobiographies of fitness icons, I have felt incredibly inpsired to get training. Take the book Eat + Run by Endurance athlete, Scott Jurek. Reading his incredible tale which led him to where his now was one of the most fascinating reads. Whilst Scott clearly had a talent from an early age, nothing was handed to him, and he worked so hard to achieve what he has. I’m not saying reading this book has given deluded me into thinking I can become the next female version of Scott Jurek, but it has given me some food for thought on pushing past those mental barriers we all face in fitness, including professionals like Scott.
Work on technique
Winter is the ideal time to work on your technique, whether that is swimming drills or looking at hill sprints for running. Don’t put yourself off exercising with volume, the idea of 6 miles of running in the rain, is an easy excuse to do nothing, but what about sprint drills for 20 minutes instead? Or agility training in your garden? The summer is a great time to clock up distances and spend a lot of time outdoors, but the colder months are notoriously hard on our motivational quota, so pull the time back and look at working on swimming smoother, running better and cycling more efficiently.
Join a club
I joined a running club in November 2019 to help improve my running and I loved it. When lockdown happened and there was no Wednesday running meet I was mortified. I loved not only the motivational push to do a quick 4 miles each week, but the social aspect made the experience more enjoyable, rather than purely focusing on times and training. We are now back running with the club, but it is completely social distanced and with limited numbers. I’d strongly suggest joining a club
Find a Facebook niche
If you don’t want to join a club that is completely understandable, so why not join a virtual club? As many know I love cold water swimming, so I’m part of the Open Water Swimming facebook group. We all share photos of our swims, share tips and encourage each other to achieve our goals. This is the first time I’ve really tried this, and I love it. Have a search for either groups that fit your particular sporting niche or something that is in your local area. Best thing I did – now I actively share my swimming tales with the community!
Whilst trying to stay motivated during the cold months can be eased by my tips above, you also need some drive to achieve this. If you really can’t be bothered, no amount of changes can push you. You need that ‘goal getter’ attitude, even if it’s buried somewhere deep within you, but with a little encouragement you can actually have a really successful winter training plan.
*Post in collaboration with Very.co.uk