Over the dark, cold, wet winter months it can be hard to stay motivated at the best of times. With the added pressure of Covid restrictions and lockdown, and uncertainty about the future, it can be even more difficult to maintain motivation. People often ask how to stay motivated and active. There are clear psychological benefits with looking forward, having hope and having something to work towards. So now more than ever, it is important that we have hope, something to look forward to and something to focus on. It is worth reflecting on what your barriers are to staying motivated, as we all have different obstacles, and different things that will keep us motivated. To help you to stay motivated and active I have jotted down my Top 10 Tips to stay motivated and active.
1 Have a Goal
Whether this is this to lose weight, to run a new distance, or set a new time, have something to work towards. When considering goals, my Top 10 Tips to Run a Marathon may be of interest, take a look HERE.
When considering goals, remember this doesn’t need to be just one goal. Although it is good to have a stretch target, and something to work towards long term, it is equally important to have short term goals. That way you can set achievable regular goals, which hels motivation. If a goal is impossible to reach, and you do not get regular progress, it can be counterproductive and lead to a loss of motivation. Short term goals are likely to be weekly targets such as total distance for a week, or a long run. Make these very achievable.
2 Have a Plan
How are you going to achieve your goals, is this through structured training? Having a plan helps you to be accountable. You may want to be flexible with the plan as you don’t want to sap enjoyment, but how are you making it count? You can find lots of plans on the Internet, or you may want a coach to help keep you on track. When planning always have your goal in mind, and keep your training achievable, and specific. I often break up my runs into Long Runs and Speed Sessions, with some easy runs thrown in.
3 Plan rewards
A reward can be anything you want, but must be something you want. You may have regular rewards for each run… If you do X you get Y. Obviously this must be achievable as you don’t want to deprive yourself or start resenting it. I always like to reward big races with a nice beer and burger, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy those things at other times. But you may want to save for a new piece of kit, and start saving up with every run. Get something to show for your effort.
4 Train with others
I will often look out of the window on a weekend morning, and can make a million excuses for not doing the run. It may be cold, wet, im always tired. If I have a friend that I am meeting for the run, this motivates me to keep going, and holds me to account. Not only do I enjoy running with others, I would not want to let them down. It is easy to miss a run for yourself, it is harder to let someone else down. If you have joint interests you can both encourage each other.
5 Virtual Accountability
You may not be able to run with others, and races may not be possible, so use the community on social media to help you be accountable. Talk about your running, ask for advice, and log your miles. Remember, even when you may feel isolated, you aren’t alone.
Set challenges and goals, even if they are virtual. There are plenty of virtual races out there, or virtual challenges. It may not be your thing, but if you are looking for an extra bit of motivation,
these are a great way to achieve a target.
6 Plan a race
It may be uncertain when we can race again, and for many, there is the hesitance to book and plan for races, for fear that they will not happen. Don’t let this put you off, instead train and prepare, for this goal, if it gets cancelled, go and run anyway, or make the challenge virtual… Either way you will be getting stronger and better for when you can race.
Having a Race in mind is the ultimate goal, don’t let uncertainty stop you from achieving your goals.
7 Make Training part of your day
Do you commute to work? This is a perfect time to fit in some training? Look at every day activities that you complete, and think about how you could incorporate that into training. If you commute to work, can you add in a run or cycle? If not, can you add a journey to the shops, after dropping kids off at school? However your day looks, structure activity to fit in with your day, and you will be surprised how much you can fit in. The art is building a routine, something that you can achieve, and remove all the barriers.
8 Prepare for the conditions
If you know it’s going to be wet, and dark, how are you prepared? If you feel prepared it is less likely to be a barrier and something which will stop you training.
Dress the part, not only will this make the experience better, but if you have new kit that you have got for the weather, you will want to use it.
9 Train at home
You may not want to get outside, so what can you do at home? Home workouts? Do you have a treadmill, do you have a turbo or spin bike (see my Echelon Review HERE)? Do what you can to keep going, even if you don’t want to get outside.
10 Make training enjoyable
Why do you run, cycle, lift weights? How can you make it something you will want to keep going back to, and not make a chore. When it is something you enjoy, and because you want to do it, then it will feel so much better, and easier to keep up with.
Never lose sight on why you are running, and when you enjoy your training, you will find that motivation to do it. RUN FOR THE LOVE OF RUNNING.