The winter months can be demotivating at times, with cold weather and dark nights putting many off of going to the gym or for a run. magazine.co.uk blogger network member Beki from Miss Wheezy shares her winter fitness motivation tips, inspired by her subscriptions to Women’s Running and Outdoor Fitness magazines.
Slow steady running is the perfect preparation for building up speed and strength later on. This type of training is an “easy pace”, so you can talk freely, keep going for long periods of time and may not really feel like you’re working.
This type of training teaches your body to burn fat for fuel, it conditions your muscles, joints and respiratory system to deal with more intense efforts later on. And it is relatively easy to recover from, with less impact and low injury risk.
However, it can be a bit boring and requires a lot of patience to stick with! Here are some ways you can mix it up, and make sure your long runs don’t become tedious.
- Bring a friend
Invite a friend to join you on one or two runs a week - you get to socialise and if they’re a newer or slower runner, it will force you to take it easier.
- Change sport
If you struggle not to go all out for a PB every time you put on your trainers, then try doing some of your base training using other activities. Easy cycling or swimming are both great options for keeping your heart rate low.
- Make it all count
Keeping active during the day will also improve your base fitness - sneaking in extra steps walking to/from work, or round the office, as well as housework and gardening can all help.
- Get a gadget
If you really struggle to keep your effort levels under control, then invest in a gadget to help you monitor heart-rate. There are models available with alarms which will tell you when you stray from the set zones, and over time will help you to recognise what speed constitutes an “easy pace”.
- Change your tune
Running with music is a brilliant way to help you stay motivated during tough workouts, but it can also be used to lower the tempo too. Create a playlist of slower, more meditative songs to encourage you to take things steady.
Running the same route every time, it’s hard not to get sucked into the temptation to try and beat your previous time. Mixing up the route will help to keep things interesting, and if you go for an off-road track or one with plenty of scenery to look at, you’re naturally more inclined to take it steady.
- Measure for measure
If you’re still feeling demoralised by all this slow running, then prove to yourself that it’s working but scheduling in one faster session per week. You can use it to reassure yourself that you can still push faster, and as a regular test to show that your fitness is improving.