Mark Wilkinson, co-founder of RunRight Ltd in Skipton offers some inspirational tips to help you maintain motivation in the dark days of winter
Is the temperature drop causing your running motivation to fall too? One of the hardest parts of winter, for morning and evening runners, is getting out of the door. When it’s dark, cold and raining mental toughness plays a big part in your training. Focusing on the mental aspects of running and specific training for improving your run, rather than pace or distance, maybe the shift in perspective your winter running needs. Planning and preparation are key to combating the urge to sleep longer or relax rather than run in the dark, wet and cold months ahead. The rewards are great though, and definitely worth the effort, especially when you receive the confidence boost from completing your run in miserable weather.
Incorporating more indoor sessions into your weekly exercise plan can ensure you stay on track even during the running ‘off-season’. However; it is also an opportunity to improve your run ready for anything you want to tackle next season. Committing to improving your times and distances along with decreasing injury risk is a good investment right now. Changes will be required as it is not possible to change or improve your run without conditioning your body first, however; by preparing fully in the winter you will be raring to go for an enjoyable summer of running. Professional run training along with strength and conditioning coaching will ensure your fitness, style and speed improves over the winter months. A professional running coach ensures you are training smart and improving skills along with the added motivation to keep up your training, especially if you book sessions in advance.
For your outdoor sessions, it is important to invest in your winter running clothes, ensuring they are suitable for the conditions, protection from the rain will make running in the wet more tolerable. Layering is key here but there is a risk of overdressing, starting out warm reduces the risk of being too warm later. Do your warm up indoors, along with warming your base layers before putting them on. Before departure make sure you can be seen clearly, reflective clothing and lights are more visible than bright clothes. Preparing your clothing the night before is a good way to reinforce your intention to run, especially if you are a morning runner. Staying safe may sometimes mean running outside is not an option however; you can use your strength and conditioning training to fall back on.
Registering for races during the winter months can help with short term goals, whilst a longer destination race in the spring maintains long-term focus and motivation. Curiously, motivation is often elusive and very personal though. Something that motivates one person to go out and run may make someone else head for their cosy chair with a book. The important thing is to try to stay fit and healthy.