Last week I wrote a post about how to GET motivated to run: http://lornpearsontrains.co.uk/2015/01/07/need-some-motivation-to-run/
And I’ve written about motivation in the past:
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Now I seem to be struggling a little with being motivated to train, like I’ve lost what’s important about me getting up and out for training. :-/ and the cold and ice and darkness is not helping me! Grrrr.
In fact, I’ll get my excuses out now: This snow and weather and darkness of winter is really starting to get to me. And it (and my excuses) are pushing me to replace workout days with rest days (when I’d rather be training in some way). :-(
I’ve found that since the start of this year, it’s seemed to be a lot harder to run or train early mornings (630-730am), it’s as if a ‘I can’t be bothered switch’ has suddenly been turned on in my brain. And whilst I could get up and out for 630am, I’m tending to choose not to. :-O mmmmm.
I got around it last week by getting up half an hour early (7am), going into work half an hour early and doing lunchtime runs. – Which worked (and I’ll use again if I turn into a morning lazy monster again).
But now this week, the snow is here and I’m most definitely not trying to run on the iced streets, for anything (yaktrax or not). Aaaahhhh! ;-)
And now I hear from Lizzy, one of my colleagues / FB followers, that her sister in law slipped and broke her leg on the ice. It definitely isn’t worth that! (I value my legs and my health, too much!
And I guess if I don’t get runs in because of the snow (or work or whatever) it won’t be the end of the world. But it’s always good to get out and about for a run (warmer weather is on its way soon thankfully!) I really can’t face the treadmill much more (eeek, only been on it twice in the last year or so).
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Anyway, how do you stay motivated to keep active when it’s cold, dark and perhaps really bad weather?
Here’s some ways you can do it:
1. Change what you do
If it’s really icy outside, you could go to the gym and run on the treadmill. Or you could change tact all together. Get your cardio from a swim (although the thought of swimming isn’t sitting well with me with the cold just now).
Or get your cardio from a spin session of bike session in the gym. You could even go for a nice brisk hill walk in the snow (but keep safe). You’re still active and doing something.
You could even change tact and do strength training or a class at the gym to mix it up until the snow clears and you can run again.
2. Be accountable to someone
Recently my brother Ewen started running a lot more, 5-6 times a week. He’s started running the majority of his runs slow and runs one run a week as an 8k time trial. He’s doing well and he’s enjoying it.
And he’s taken to texting me the results of (ALL OF) his runs. The distance, time and heart rate. It might be boring to some (and it’s slightly annoying when he texts me and I’ve not been able to, or been too lazy to, run), but I like seeing the progress, and it’s nice to be able to congratulate or encourage him.
You can be accountable to one person (a friend, partner or family member), or you could put your plans on Facebook or on a blog. Then once you’ve said you’re going to do it, you usually do it. Share your goals and keep them important and in your mind to motivate you out of the door.
I update my weekly plan each Sunday on my blog which helps me to be focused on what j want to do that week. Sometimes it goes out the window on the first day, but then I just reassess it and change it to fit in.
Let your partner know your plans and get support from them. If your partner wakes up and says to you, ‘aw, just go back to sleep, it’s dark and cold’ – chances are you will. But if you tell them how important it is to you, ask them to back you up, to not tell you to go back to bed, and to turn all of lights and music on – chances are, you’ll get up. ;-)
3. Pair up with someone else
I’ve been motivated out of my bed for a run on many a morning, simply because I’ve arranged to meet someone at 630am for a run.
Once or twice a week, or however often you want. Get a training buddy and you get the social chat, plus the motivation to get up on those cold dark mornings (or get out on those cold dark nights).
Run with new people you haven’t run with before, reach out and help someone else be motivated to run (and it helps you be motivated to run). Remember how far you’ve come and how lucky you are to be ABLE to run. Run an adventure if you can.
4. Set goals, remember and achieve them.
Set goals and make achieving them important to you. If you enter a half marathon in 6 weeks, you’ll need to train for it, so if you want to do well, you’d better not slack off your runs (too much). If you miss a day or two and feel guilty, just reset the next day and start afresh.
Be even more motivated to do what you planned to do. Get over any lazyitus or excuses you might have. Just get out there (or get to the gym) and do it. Get a training plan, and stick to it as much as you can. Still be flexible but get the majority of your training done.
Remember the buzz you get from exercising. The endorphins and good feeling. Know that you’ll probably feel great after you exercise, so stop humming and hawing and just do it.
5. Make exercise appointments
This one works for me. You wouldn’t generally stand a friend up (unless you forgot), so you shouldn’t stand yourself up if you plan to exercise. When exercising in the morning, I tend to set myself mini time appointments: 6:00 wake up, 6:10 be out of bed, 6:20 getting ready / downstairs, 6:30 ready and out the door.
And if I’ve chosen not to make the morning session, I’ll make an appointment with myself for lunchtime, 12:45, get changed and go running. Or if a lunchtime run isn’t possible due to work commitments, 6:00pm is my other training session appointment. It’s just 30 mins to an hour of exercise. It’s hardly a lifetime! Anyone can do it.
6. Commit and think ‘will do’ not excuses
It’s cold, it’s dark, the car will need scraping, I’m tired, it’s dark, maybe I need a rest day – there are so many excuses that go through my head sometimes to stop me getting up when it early, cold and dark.
The way around this is to plan ahead what you’re going to do, commit to it and do it. There’s no ‘try’ or no ‘maybe’ – commit to saying ‘I’m going swimming tomorrow morning’. Have a good reason for going swimming and do it.
Lay your stuff out the night before so that by 6:10am your ready, in your clothes and ready to go scrape the car to go to the pool. It’s not hard. Anyone can do it, you just need to make the choice to commit and do it.
You’ll feel great after it.
7. Remember balance and remember what’s important.
In life it’s easy to get swept along with work, family and other things of people taking over. What’s the most important thing to me?
Probably my health. I have my health, so maybe it shouldn’t be too important to me, but it is. I want to be fit and healthy and strong for as long as I can be. And the last few months fading in and out of colds has been very annoying.
Getting a balance is good too though. I’ve learned not to batter my body with demanding training schedules and take plenty rest and sleep when i need it. That’s what balance is, along with being social, getting out and about and just enjoying life.
I’ve lost any excess weight I had, so I don’t need to train for that, but I train to maintain my weight, to feel good and be healthy. I make my training important in my life, just as my relationship with Fit Girl is important, my work and family is important, as is being social, helping people and being happy is important to me.
Placing an importance on your goals is one way of making sure you get things done. Weight, body fat, health, number of times a week – all goals that you can work towards to achieve.
I’ve run out of ideas, but hopefully the above will help me and you get motivated to keep going. And, if you miss a few workouts, you do bits not the end of the world and you’ll be able to get back on track soon. Just don’t lose your motivation forever!
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It’s nearing the end of January and if you started a New Years resolution, you might be struggling with it by now. But you don’t have to be. Acknowledge that change can be hard, and remember why you’re making the changes you are. It’s important, and you can do it.
If you struggle one day, or one weekend, just restart the next day. Use some of the tips above (and in the links on this page) and get closer to being the new improved version of you. Small changes, bit by bit, can lead to big big changes.
You can do it! (and I can get out of my bed for an early morning swim one day this week too!!)