As nights draw in and days shorten, maintaining your exercise routines can become challenging. While we are indeed facing a few months of colder, darker conditions, arm yourself with these 10 tips to keep you moving - and thriving - through winter
Tip #1: Apply the five-minute rule
When you don’t want to train, tell yourself you only have to do five minutes. After five minutes if you still want to stop you can. Nine times out of ten you'll carry on because you're enjoying it and it was just getting started that was the hard part. And if you do genuinely still want to stop, rest safe in the knowledge this is your body saying you really do need a day off.
Shop our award-winning winter sports nutrition
Tip #2: Celebrate every win
You know you’ll feel great come spring if you’ve kept in shape through winter, but it takes determination and this commitment must be celebrated. After each session, give yourself a pat on the back and revel in your achievement. Reward yourself if it’s been particularly tough.
Getting out there on gloomy days isn’t easy, but you’ll always feel great once you’ve finished
It’s easy to get accustomed to a new norm and not appreciate how far you’ve come. Looking forward is imperative, of course, but looking back is equally important to celebrate the victories.
Tip #3: Have your post-run food prepared
It's super-motivating knowing you’ve got some great tasty food ready and waiting to be devoured once your session's done. Prepare your favourite post-run feed before training.
Not only does this give you something to look forward to, but also saves time for those occasions when you finish up knackered or cold (or both) and want nothing more than to flop onto the sofa while feeding your face.
Make your post-training feed delicious and good for recovery. Our legendary Eroica protein bars are incredible winners here
Tip #4: Wear the right kit
As the Royal Marines say, “Be bold, start cold”. Even if it’s chilly outside, you’ll warm up quick so don't overdress or you’ll be peeling those layers off minutes later.
A good quality base layer is an important piece of kit to invest in so get that right and you’re halfway there. Arm warmers are another winter winner because they’re easy to put on, strip off and stow on the move. Beanies and neck warmers are also great – if your ears and head are warm your whole body feels it. If you overheat, neck warmers can just go around your wrist.
Heading out with all the layers might feel appealing until you're roasting like a Christmas turkey after five minutes
Tip #5: Think about those who can’t
We’ve all thrown ourselves a little pity party at having to train when we don’t feel like it. Thinking about those unable to exercise - and who would perhaps give anything to do so – is a very powerful motivator.
Being able to exercise, to get fitter, stronger and healthier, is a privilege. Enjoy it - appreciating that you have a body that’s able to be active is powerful.
Tip #6: Know your why – do it for something big
Training to lose weight, fit into clothes or as justification to eat a donut is rarely enough to keep you on track through winter and the reason why so many fail to stick with training programmes.
Try to find a powerful motivator to keep you on track
So what's your real reason for training?
How about because it’s fundamentally changing your health for the better? Or because it’s literally adding years to your life? Or because it means you can be more active and engaged with your kids? What about because when you go for a run, you’re simply a nicer person afterwards and a better husband/wife? Or because you want to qualify for a big championship race?
Dig out your why, and use it to drive you forwards.
Tip #7: Get prepared the night before
This sounds a bit OCD but getting your kit ready for the following days session before going to bed is a pure pro tip. By laying out kit, hydration and nutrition the night before, you’ve no room to procrastinate and become side-tracked come training time and your chances of success soar.
Tip #8: Plan your week in advance
Get your diary out and plan – you’re much more likely to get it done if there’s a schedule to keep
You’re much more likely to stick to a plan than flexible, non-committal day-to-day decisions. On Sunday night, diarise the non-negotiable sessions where you are absolutely going to head out and train – this provides great accountability.
As you progress through the week, by all means add further sessions but do everything in your power to get those planned ones ticked.
Tip #9: Get accountable with friends
You’ve likely plenty of mates who are equally keen to keep in shape this winter. Probably the biggest win of all is joining forces with someone who will provide you with accountability and motivation during winter.
If you’ve agreed to meet up for a run, bike or hike you have no option but to go. You’re less likely to bail if you’re doing it with someone even if (as a result of the pandemic) you’re only able to ‘see’ each other virtually.
Get your phone out and connect with someone today.
Whether you run in person or join forces virtually, having a friend along for the journey will make it a LOT easier to keep training through winter
Tip #10: Think of your future self
Project into the future how you’ll feel if you continue with consistent training. Short term you know how great you feel once you’ve got the heart pumping, legs turning and endorphins flowing and you've seen the gains you've achieved. You also know how grateful you'll be come spring that you're not starting from scratch.
Now multiply that by five years. How much fitter will you be? How much better will you feel? Particularly if you compare this to where you'll be in five years with no training at all!
So think long term and picture what this will do for you: picture being more active, picture being able to run a marathon or being able to run with your kids. Picture being proud standing in front of the mirror and picture what next year will hold as a fitter, healthier and happier individual.
Training through winter is demanding on the immune system. Give your body what it needs to function optimally – just one spoon of award-winning Ultimate Daily Greens sets you off on the right foot