Sunday, 20 November 2016

How I stay motivated to train throughout Winter - Movember 10k

Last Sunday's gym... loveee running when it's crisp outside
I've been reading a lot lately on how to stay motivated throughout the winter months, as it's something I can really struggle with. My newsfeeds have moved away from beach photos, people getting stronger and more confident for their summer holidays, and instead has been replaced with cosy fire scenes, mulled wine and hearty, warming food photos. It's the most cliched thing, but the dark and rainy mornings, cold (and even darker) early evenings, and a hectic social life can really play havoc with my desire to get out and train.

I was really struggling for motivation mid-October, just before the clocks went back and when the mornings were exceptionally black. I wasn't training half as much and when I was, it was half-arsed. I could see my progress slowing and became agitated with my attitude.

credit: Pinterest
Over the past month, I've really made a conscious effort to up my training game and get back on it in the run up to Christmas.

I've not been perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I have made a conscious effort to maintain a regular exercise routine, and am actually happy with how I've managed to keep at it.

So if you're looking for that little bit of extra help with some motivation before Christmas, here's what I've been doing to stay on track...


1) Giving up alcohol

Yep, I've been 'that' person this month, giving up alcohol throughout November to do 'Dry-November' ("is that a 'thing'?" people ask. No, and I am well aware of that, and it's been hard!) I promised myself I'd be kinder to my body before the madness of Christmas kicks in and I'm 20 days in so far! I'm going to do a separate blog post dedicated to this, so keep your eye out for it but as I'm sure you've guessed, a lack of hangover has meant it's been far easier to train.

2) Indulging in 'the best' 

So I might have given up alcohol but believe you me the treats have been non stop this month. Knowing my social life was going to pick up means I've eaten out loads, which has also kept me motivated to keep on training.

Whilst I usually make a balanced choice eating out, for me, it's also important to treat yourself. Hannah from Wedges and Weights passed off some great advice at her festive supper club last year, and one of the key pieces of advice was about indulging - indulge in the best treat that you want every now and then, so that you don't constantly feel like you want more.

3) Preparation 

I've mentioned this in a previous post about fitness motivation (FYI this has a list of morning gym motivation tips if you're struggling here...), and I still stand by this one. It's so important!

If I'm going to the gym in the morning, I pack allllll my gym kit, work bag, work clothes, spare clothes (if I'm out after work) the night before, and make my lunch and breakfast for the day ahead the previous evening too.

Choosing my outfit for the next day is such a time saver as I faff about what to wear all.the.time. I also like to have everything packed up and ready to go as usually, I'm the only one awake and don't want to wake anyone up! Packing ahead also (perhaps more crucially) means that I can spend more time in bed asleep so is always a winner for me.

4) Pre-book

In a similar vein to preparation, booking on to various classes, races, events (whatever floats your boat!) is a great way to keep you in check.

At the Men's Health 10k Survival of the Fittest
In the past month, I've done the Men's Health Survival of the Fittest 10k and today, the Mo Running Movember 10k, which has 100% absolutely played a part in motivating me to train!

My motivation for training for this was definitely increased as the Movember PR team asked me if I'd like to take part in the run to raise awareness for the charity (I still bought my t-shirt to donate to the charity, it's a great cause!).



The run was at Heaton Park but the Mo Running team have organised 17 runs up and down the country throughout November to support, raise awareness and money for the Movember Foundation, which aims to 'stop men dying too young'. It's an amazing umbrella charity that wants to take on key global health issues that are affecting men worldwide - prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. It's not just about trying to grow a mustache!

We did really well in the race (which was muddy, slippy, narrow and hilly! ~getting those excuses in now~), coming in 62nd and 63rd out of over 400 runners, at 50mins 31secs - a time I'm happy with! I'd love to get this down to sub 50 though, 45 minutes would be insane.

Booking onto an event and committing to it gives me a set goal to work towards, which helps me focus and gives me a kick to keep it up at the gym. Crucially, it also gives me purpose which in turn makes training feel worth something. This definitely works for me.

Like I said I'm not perfect and there have definitely been a days over the past few weeks where the morning gym alarm has been snoozed (or called off altogether), so if you have any other winter workout motivation advice, pleeease share them with me!

Franks x

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