As the days get shorter and the temperatures begin to drop, it’s harder to stay motivated and continue to train. It may start with a couple of skipped workouts, life event that interrupt your scheduled workout and holiday commitments that take up your entire schedule. Before you know it, a week has gone by and you didn’t exercise at all. Staying in shape is getting harder and harder. You are not alone; we have all gone through this during one season or another. Here are a few tips that will keep you motivated and on task while avoiding the winter blues.
Commit to training daily – This time of the year, most of us are on a maintenance program. You do not need a full-blown training program. However, a fun, daily exercise session can make all the difference you need to stay in shape.
Sign up for an early spring race – Find an upcoming event that is fun and will motivate you to keep moving. Ideally, a 12-week program for your race goal will do the trick. It is close enough to keep you on task. (EDIT from Kimberley – OR consider your friendly neighbourhood winter half marathon!)
Do your workout first – Start the day with your workout. It will keep you energized for the rest of the day. Trying to train at night might be a recipe for failure. It’s much harder to get off the couch after work then it is to get out of bed in the morning.
Join a group or set up a training date – It’s easier to get out the door in cold and dark conditions if you know someone is waiting. Make it fun and get breakfast or coffee after your workout. The social interaction will keep your spirit and motivation up.
Get the right gear – New gear always does the trick. Who doesn’t like new clothes or shoes? It will make you look better but more importantly, will provide the proper apparel to face the cold.
Warm-up inside – That first chill as you go out the door can keep you inside until spring! Warm yourself up at home with a short muscle activation routine, a quick 10 minutes on a stationary bike or even a hot cup of tea. It will give you the warmth you need until your body starts to warm up.
Change your routine – If you mostly run, get on a bike. If you cycle, pick up swimming, yoga, Pilates, tennis, basketball, volleyball or hockey. Changing your activity does more than keeping the motivation to exercise up, it gets you in better shape. If you skipped strength training all season long, the winter is a great time to start. You will see the benefits come spring.
During the warm months with longer days, we are dedicated to training for the main event. The cold months give us the flexibility to have some more fun with our workouts while staying in shape. Use some of the tips mentioned here. Don’t let the winter blues rob you of your goal.