It’s easy to make plans to keep our fitness and health goals. You’ll wake up at 5am tomorrow and smash out 5k. Then double the distance in a few days and stick to a diet plan as well. See? Plan made. But the reality of crawling from your cosy bed in the middle of winter to face the icy wind and denying yourself that afternoon sugar hit is another thing altogether.
So what is the secret to getting motivated for your training? How can you trick yourself into getting fit and race ready as the days get colder and the hours until the big day start to count down? Unfortunately I can’t give you all the answers, but I can tell you what works for me in winter.
Have a goal: Set a realistic goal of what you want to achieve, why and by when. Have constant reminders around you so that it doesn’t become ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Stick it on the fridge, on your bathroom mirror, have it as your screen saver on your phone! If you have a goal to work towards, it gives you that little bit extra get up and go that you might need. My goal is to set a new PB by running the City2Surf by running as Fight Cancer Foundation’s TEAM Champion.
Be prepared: If I roll over to press snooze on my alarm and see my workout gear that I’ve laid out the night before all my good intentions come rushing back. I remember the determination I was feeling when I promised myself I’d train. By being organised it also means the least amount of effort possible to get work out ready. I even put my hair tie next to my clothes so I can go from bed to road in 3 minutes, before my foggy brain has time to process that it’s pre 6am and I must be nuts. Being organised and having everything ready will inspire and convince you to get active. If you’re an after work jogger then follow the same rule in the mornings, so you will be faced with your exercise clothes when you walk in the door, before you see the TV or the fridge! Trust me, it works every time!
Be accountable: I like to keep a training diary, so that I can look back and be proud of what I’ve achieved and see where my downfalls are. By writing everything down you are less likely to make detrimental training or food choices as you’ll have your habits documented and can’t pretend like that 3pm doughnut and chai latte never happened. I know that towards the end of the week my motivation is lower so that’s when I’ll plan to train with friends, so we can inspire each other. If a friend is relying on you then you are less likely to bail! Sharing recipes and nutrition tips with friends is another great way to remain conscious of your efforts; you won’t over indulge in desserts if you know you’ll have to fess up to your bestie the next day!
Be realistic: You know where your fitness level is at. Your first workout might be a walk around the block or you might start with 5k jogs. Be smart about your choices, don’t kill yourself with a 10k training run if you’ve never done more than eight, because it will leave you sore and not wanting to continue. Write down a maximum distance goal for each week and do a run that is half that length a few days before as a warm up to prepare your body. Ensure you are stretching correctly and scheduling enough rest. To feel motivated your body has to be well rested and correctly fuelled, otherwise the couch and an ‘Orange is the New Black’ marathon will win every time.
Be merciless: Don’t let your brain give you alternatives. ‘I’ll do double the distance tomorrow instead” or “I’ll have this treat but skip dinner to make up for it” never works. It just teaches your brain not to take your goals seriously. Remember that the hardest part of any exercise is the first 2 seconds. Once you have your running shoes on and are out the door, the rest is easy. You are your own worst enemy sometimes so be kind to your future self and keep your promises.
I hope everyone is on track with their winter fitness goals, whether you have a summer bod in mind or like me, an upcoming event like City2Surf. Don’t let the winter chill kill your fit and fantastic vibe!
For more inspiration check out TEAM Fight Cancer and follow my training journey for this great cause. You too can join the fight against cancer this August with me by signing up to run the City2Surf and nominating Fight Cancer Foundation as your charity of choice. Officially join the team here: http://www.everydayhero.com.au/event/fcfteamfightcancerproject and raise vital funds to help give hope and save the lives of cancer patients.