Beating Back the Winter Blues – How to stay motivated when the temps drop and the days are short
Author: Jeff Horowitz
For many athletes, the holiday season is the toughest time of year. The temptations are many and the races are few, and it’s all too easy to roll over in bed on a cold morning instead of heading out the door. We can almost feel our hard-earned fitness leaking away. And the weather isn’t the worst part of it; often the worst culprit is the lack of motivation. Here are a few ways to get back on track.
Take A Break. When you really don’t feel like training, sometimes the best thing to do is to just let it go for a week or two. There’s an old line that goes “you can’t miss me ‘til I go away.” That’s certainly true here. If you take a break now, guilt-free, you’ll come back stronger and more motivated than ever. That’s why they call this the off-season, remember?
Try Something Different. You might find that you’re not really tired of training; you just need a break from your regular routine. Winter is the perfect time to try new ways to stay fit. Take a kickboxing class, try cross-country skiing, or go for a hike. A change in your routine will help you keep a lot of your fitness while recharging your mental batteries.
Be Creative. When the weather is demoralizing, it’s time to find new ways to break a sweat. When snow hits the ground, surprise your neighbors and shovel the whole block or dig out a few cars. Everyone will think you’re a helluva pal, and you’ll get in a total body workout. Or do repeats in an stairwell or underground parking garage ramp.
Appreciate What You’ve Accomplished. Too often we’re so busy getting ready for our next race that we don’t take the time to look back on what we’ve done. Reviewing your own 2010 racing and training highlight reel will leave you wondering what 2011 will have in store for you.
Look Ahead. Thinking of past glory is fun, but planning for the future is better. Map out your race schedule, and think about what you could change to improve on your past performances. Is it time to upgrade your gear? Or should you try a new training technique? Plan on making at least one change in 2011.
Jeff first fell in love with endurance sport almost a quarter century ago, when he chose the Marine Corps Marathon as his first race. Since then, he's run over 150 marathons, including at least one in every state and on 6 continents, including Antarctica. He's also taken up ultramarathoning and long distance cycling. His swimming is a work in progress; it took him a while to realize that when people said he swims like a runner, it wasn't a compliment. Jeff is the author of "My First 100 Marathons: 2,620 Miles With An Obsessive Runner (Skyhorse Press, 2008) and is the Mid-Atlantic editor of Competitor Magazine, He is a coach and personal trainer, certified by USAT, USATF, RRCA, USA Cycling, and AFAA. He also is a member of the Clif Bar Pace Team, and loves being a brand ambassador for The Nations Tri and the Washington DC Triathlon.
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