I was at dinner with a friend last week who asked, “How on earth do you motivate yourself to train in this weather?” Very good question… Before jetting off to Gateshead next weekend for the pre-Commonwealth Games Camp, I thought I would shed some light on how to get motivated for training in winter for those battling the temptation to stay rugged up in bed.
Last weekend, a group of runners in training for the 2014 New York marathon for the Little Heroes Foundation (LHF), planned to join Team Tempo (my training squad) for part of the routine Sunday long run. I was running from home towards our regular meeting spot in North Adelaide, when an eerie shade of grey crept over the sky and a cool, punishing breeze started to make each stride a little more difficult. Five minutes before we were due to meet, the sharp rain started piercing my skin and stinging my eyes… these are the runs that test your resilience. Like many, I find it difficult to throw off the warm blankets when I can hear the rain pelting down outside… so I would not have blamed the LHF recruits if they didn’t show!
I was very impressed however to see a couple of runners emerge to join the huddle of Team Tempo athletes for the run, which lasts anywhere between 70-150 minutes depending on the runner’s focus event. What I believe set these runners apart from the majority who would have pushed snooze and rolled over that morning, is their drive to achieve an upcoming goal. I am very much driven by my goals and with the marathon in Glasgow now only three weeks away, there is no other option in my mind than to train so why waste time thinking about it?! My key tips for getting the training done when motivation is dwindling are:
Have a reason to train. Set yourself some short and long-term goals to give each run purpose and monitor your progress towards these goals. This for me is the key to maintaining motivation and satisfaction in the sport!
Avoid over-thinking. As soon as you hear the alarm, spring into action and try to keep your mind away from alternative options to training!
Be organised. Place your clothes, shoes, gels and whatever else you need for training near your bed the night before. It makes the process of getting ready quicker and there is less time to procrastinate.
Layer up if necessary and start with a short loop that ends at your home or car to drop a jacket if you need to.
Have a training plan. Routine and structure helps me to stay motivated. My coach, Adam Didyk presents our training in a monthly calendar format. This provides a clear visual of the training program/plan for each week.
Arrange to meet with someone for training. It is much harder to pull out of a training session if you know someone else is relying on you. If you enjoy running with company, it can also make training more enjoyable and I find that time seems to pass much quicker. Sneaking in a coffee or meal after the run can provide an added incentive to get the hard work done too!
On that note, I’m about to grab some dinner and then finish packing for the flight this weekend! I was very excited to receive (and try on) the extensive Australian uniform last week – the race kit is very comfortable which is crucial in the marathon game! I also gained a lot of satisfaction from completing my final ‘Sunday long run’ of 2.5 hours on Sunday, before the taper begins. Most of the training is in the bank now and I am really looking forward to meeting up with the fellow Aussie team members in Scotland in a week - Let the Games Begin!