Winter Motivation

It looks like winter has landed and as the daylight wanes, so does many peoples’ motivation. Last week I had my own battle with motivation; it started with a minor work crisis that had me still at my desk at 6pm on Sunday and the possibility of a long run rapidly diminishing…

However, I downed tools a little after six and used the first of my key tips for this kind of situation; “something is always better than nothing” – so I laced up my shoes and got out and did 3km before dinner – it wasn’t long and it certainly wasn’t the planned 16km, but it was something and my mood and motivation improved.

The following day was a recovery day but included a Covid Booster jab; unfortunately the day after brought on some side effects, nothing horrendous, but a very sore arm, tiredness and some adductor soreness and tightness from cross country at the weekend meant that 2km into my 16km run I had had enough and turned around and headed for home. Its never a great feeling to have to abandon a workout way short of the planned distance, and whilst it can sometimes be the best choice to ensure your legs are in a condition to run the next workout, it can mess with your head.

So what can you do when a missed workout, injury or just the general misery of winter leaves you wondering whether you really can be bothered to do the next days workout?

In the long run one or two missed workouts will make almost no difference whatsoever to your physical performance on race day – particularly if its mid-winter and you’re training for a spring marathon. What you absolutely have to do is put a mental full stop against them – you have to be able to lace up your trainers the following day and treat the next workout like a blank canvas. This is where it really helps to ensure that you have a training plan and an event coming up, so that you know what you’re next workout is and what you need to do for it.

Sometimes it can help to run with someone else or a group; just getting around a distance whilst chatting can really be a good substitute for your own motivation.

And my final tip is to treat yourself to a run somewhere different; find some hills, or a lake or a canal or river or whatever sort of terrain is your favourite and make yourself some time to go out there and forget distance, time or pace targets and just enjoy the run.

Two men, arms outstretched, stood on a snowy hill top around dawn.

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