If you live in the UK, winter can be pretty bleak. It’s probably dark when you leave for work and dark when you get home. It’s cold, it rains (a lot), the wind can chill you to the bone.
So, do you hide in a gym? Or do you get a head start on your 2019 running goals and get out there?
There’s no such thing as bad weather, as they say. You just need the right clothing.
‘Invest in some shiny new winter kit, to keep you warm and safe,’ Mel recommends. ‘Doing this will banish the some of the famous excuses.’
Set your intention
The hardest part is often getting out the door.
For Marcus, it starts with getting his running kit ready the night before. He’s also got into the habit of leaving his running shoes by the door, setting a clear intention that he will use them the next morning ‘I see motivation as the spark, but the real focus should be developing habit, which through repetition becomes part of your subconscious actions.’
‘Better still, leave all your clothes on a radiator so they are nice and toasty,’ advises Mel. ‘Leave yourself as little to do as possible and give yourself less time to change your mind.’
Working out is always more fun with friends. If you’re running after dark you’ll also feel safer.
‘Call on the reinforcements and team up with your friends,’ says Mel. ‘That way you are accountable to someone. You are much less likely to flake on a session, if you are going to be letting a friend down.’
Create achievable goals
Don’t set yourself up to fail. Think about achievable goals.
Marcus recommends that once you’ve managed to get out the door, ‘just tell yourself I’ll run a minimum of for 5 minutes. Even if you run for 5 minutes over a several days, your developing the importance of showing up. Once the habit to show up is established you can build on this and improve.
‘Winter training is tough. If it’s new for you don’t jump straight into gruelling workouts, as you’ll burn out.’
As well as immediate goals, it’s important to have something to work towards in the longer term. ‘Spring PBs are made in the winter’ Mel reminds us. ‘Enter some spring races so that you have something in the calendar to aim for and follow a training plan. The work you put in over the winter will pay dividends in the spring.’
Remember how awesome you are
‘People like rewards, so have something measurable to refer to, like a diary of the work you’ve done,’ says Marcus. ’On the days when you don’t want to train, go through the diary and remind yourself of the great work you’ve done previously.’
For Mel, it’s important to remember how lucky you are to be able to run in the first place. ‘Whenever my motivation takes a nosedive, I remind myself of all the times I’ve been on the bench with an injury, longing to run. I think of my friends who are currently sidelined, and I remind myself of how lucky I am that I am fit, well and injury free.'
Eyes on the prize
If that’s not enough to motivate you, make sure you have a little reward waiting for you when you get home. The promise of a mince pie and mulled cider usually does it,’ says Mel.