It’s getting darker in the mornings and a wee bit colder outside and some people are even thinking of putting the heating on! Do you find it hard to motivate yourself to run or workout at this time of year? You might even be reading this and thinking that it’s been a week or two (or longer) since you last went for a run or been for a workout.
Do you wait until January and start the year with big plans to get fit, change your body shape and run faster than this year? You wouldn’t be alone but why wait until January when you can get results now?
My 0-5k and Improvers running groups always get quieter at this time of year and I’ve noticed a drop in the numbers coming to the classes I teach at Aviva in Perth compared to just a few months ago. I think the reason for the drop in numbers and loss of motivation as we get into the tail end of the year is because we’ve achieved our goals, or our reason for training in the first place. We’ve all had our big summer holiday and for most of us, we’ve run all our main races for the season and we end up winding down before starting again in the new year. by which point our clothes are starting to feel a little bit tighter after the festive season and we feel like we’re starting back at square one again.
It doesn’t need to be like that though and the work we do now can lay the foundations for our best year yet in 2018.
Setting goals now is going to be different from how we normally set them as we don’t have a massive deadline like a holiday or a marathon on the horizon so we need to think differently. Yes, we can think about the holidays we’re going to have and the weight loss we’ll need to fit into our holiday clothes or the big race we’re going to do and how we’re going to fit the training in or how we’re going to get faster etc.
The thing is, our goals don’t always need to be massive ones like we normally set, they can be much smaller and enough to get your bum off the sofa and get moving again. I often chat to runners on Twitter who are struggling for motivation and I always encourage them to rediscover their passion for running again. We can get bogged down with detail like pace, distance, the pressure to get a PB every race and as we run out of races then the desire to keep pushing ourselves dries up.
How about to think about what we love about running, what it does for us and go out to rediscover it again? No GPS, just run to how you feel and learn to love running again? Put an extra layer on if you need it, treat yourself to a top that makes you more visible in the dark and go have fun again.
Taking a fresh approach to your training can make a huge difference not only to your motivation but also to your fitness. If you tend to do the same things all the time then there’s a good chance that you’ve already plateaued and stopped making progress a while ago. Our bodies, like our minds, need a stimulus otherwise we get bored and our bodies stop responding in the same way to what we’re doing. A new challenge can take care of all that and get you looking forward to your training sessions again.
Most people I meet don’t have great flexibility or mobility, especially runners, so yoga classes could be an option or mobility exercises done at home could improve the range of movement in your joints and help you get more out of the workouts you normally do. Often the best workouts are the ones that challenge you in ways you least expect so mobility and flexibility training can help you become stronger, fitter and help you reduce your risk of injury.
Putting You First
Our greatest challenge is often nothing to do with exercise but fitting everything in. We can be good at creating time for our training when we need it but it can be a bit of a chore when you find yourself having not exercised in a while. Our diaries become busier and we have less time to do things so this is where we need to become more productive. Put yourself first! This doesn’t mean ignore everything else but you’re no use to others if you have no energy.
Try preparing your meals the night before, get up early and do some light exercise but most of all, make sure you get a good night’s sleep and you make time for some exercise each day. We can be good at prioritising other things, leave little time for ourselves and this only serves is to make us feel exhausted and a bit stressed.
The main benefit to starting now rather than January is that you’re at least halfway there already from the work that you’ve done this year so while you might not be at your best, it won’t take as long to get back there as it will do come January!
If you’re interested in getting started but not sure what to do, let’s have a chat. Alternatively, have a look at my videos on You Tube or you can now download some of my exercise playlists at HealthclubTV