How to stay motivated during winter

British winter = cold, dark, wet and did I mention, dark?  It is so difficult to stay motivated for fitness, why would anyone voluntarily go outside to get wet and cold, when instead there’s the better option of staying in the warmth!  Well here’s where I come in!  While it’s easier to say, i’ll start next Monday, or i’ll start when it gets lighter, weeks can pass by and before you know it, you haven’t exercised in weeks or months.  The downside to this is that you will, if you’re someone who exercises regularly, experience reversibility.

Reversibility basically means what it says, you will reverse your fitness.  Therefore this means that to some degree, everything that you have done, will somewhat be undone and you will have to go back a few steps training wise.  When we exercise (and depending on the exercise) regularly, your body is very clever and will begin to adapt to the demands placed upon it, so that it becomes easier to do the activity.  Think about if you’re training for a running event, let’s say a half marathon, if you had never run a half marathon before, you would certainly not be able to run 13.1 miles from nothing – and do not try so!  You would start off with something light and easy and increase your distance and speed over a period of weeks and months, until you can safely run 10 miles at least; this is progression.  Progression comes with practice and knowing when to step up a gear, and with practice comes adaptations, and with adaptations, comes better efficiency!  This is why elite athletes train 6 times a week and have minimal time off, only sufficient time to rest and recover, which is of great importance.

Having too much time off means that you will only have to work harder when you get back into it.  So the best thing to do is to keep on top of fitness.  So I have come up with a few tips on how to stay motivated during winter.  Here we go…

  1. Sign up and pay for an event

Probably one of the most influential tips is to sign up and pay for an event that takes place during winter, or early spring.  By signing up, you’ve planted the idea that you’ve committed to something.  But by actually using your hard-earned money, you’ve cemented the commitment because let’s face it, events are not cheap and it really would be wasted money.  Therefore, to avoid money wastage, and your ego (because by the time your confirmation email comes through you’ve probably told 5 family members and 500 social media followers that you’re doing the event), you will have to train; you’ll only look silly if you say ‘oh I didn’t do it in the end because I couldn’t be arsed’.  My next event is the London Winter Run the first weekend of February and I booked this October/November time.

Other winter and spring events that are available can be found here:

Time outdoors

Cancer research 

Runner’s World

Tough Mudder

Triathlons

2. Winter wardrobe haul

While it is cold, wet and dark outside, this does not mean you have to freeze to death while you train.  The sports industry is HUGE, it is a money making bonanza and so they release products, products and more products for you to buy all year round.  This includes a huge stock of winter clothes and accessories.  So my second tip is to have a winter wardrobe haul and buy some of the following that you can afford: a hat, a headband that covers your ears, a scarf, long sleeve tops, thick tops, long sleeve jumpers, waterproof jackets, thermal gloves.  Key items would be: a hat, gloves and thick bottoms, because the top half is really easy to layer.  By having suitable clothing, you will stay warm.  You will also get warm when you exercise, because if you didn’t know, you need energy (through food) when you exercise to power your muscles and a lot of this gets lost as heat, making you warm.  Another reason is that your blood vessels expand during exercise and rise to the surface of the skin – if you’ve ever wondered why you get a red face during and after exercise, therefore you will get warm the minute you exercise, but the importance of winter clothing is that it will retain the heat and stop you from freezing.  If you’re taking part in a sport, always go for lots of layers, because you can easily take a layer or two off and go back to the game.  Whereas if you’re running, be tactful with what you wear because there’s nothing worse than having to take a layer off and then tie it around your waist!

3. Grab your buddy

There’s nothing more lonely that exercising in the winter weather alone, so find yourself a buddy, a team mate, a friend, family member, parter, anyone!  Having someone to run with, train with, share a lift with, go to a gym class together with, will keep you motivated because you’ve made plans together and you’re in it together.

4. Be organised to minimise excuses

It’s really easy to say you don’t have the right clothes, you forgot your towel, you’re too hungry, you’re tired, you need to tidy the house, you need to prepare food for the next day.  But the trick is to become super organised.  For example, pack your sports bag the night before and carry it with you, or if you’re exercising/training in the morning, prepare your clothes and leave a pile by the door or on a surface, down to the pair of socks you’re going to wear so that it is ready to be thrown on without thinking.  Another tip for getting organised is to meal prep on the weekends and always buy more food than you need so you don’t run out of food mid-week and then have to spend an evening going shopping again.  But if you need to go shopping, do an online shop, they bring it to you and this will save you an hour at the supermarket!

5. Treat yourself

It is important to have a couple of days rest in-between.  So my final tip is to use this time to treat yourself.   Go out and spend time with friends, go to the cinema, go out for dinner, go to a museum, make the most of indoor activities available.  Or, buy yourself something nice as a reward for this week’s training.

I hope these tips work for you, these work for me, but I would love to hear of any additional tips that work for you, so that I can add them to my list! Happy training 🙂

 

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© 2018. Naomi Laws. All rights reserved. 

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