For many runners this is the toughest time of the year to find the motivation to get out the door and run. It’s wet, cold, windy, and dark. If you’ve completed your autumn race goals you may have an empty race calendar with not much to look forward to until the spring.
To an extent, a certain level of slowing down and easing back is natural and good for you. Trees lose their leaves and prepare for winter. Animals start to hibernate. The winter can be a time of rest and recovery. Be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack if that’s what your body and mind are craving. Treat those niggles, get more sleep, and prime yourself to go again when the weather warms up and the race calendars get busier again.
That said, running fitness is built on a consistent base, so it’s best not to switch off completely if performance is your goal. There’s a balance to be made and it’s likely you’ll benefit from getting out and running. But if that’s proving tricky to do, consider these tips to help you hang onto your running mojo…
- Enter a race in the next few weeks. There’s fewer races in the winter than there are in the spring and summer, but still enough for you to find one to focus on in the next month or two. For a mental refresher, consider doing an event you wouldn’t normally choose. For example, if you’re a dedicated road racer, pick a trail race and have fun without worrying about times. If you’re a fan of a long race, why not work on your speed and try to set a 5K PB?
- Set a long term race goal. Get an event in the diary for next spring or summer so you’ll have something to look forward to.
- Complete a virtual challenge. With Lonely Goat Virtual Challenges, you can reward yourself with a medal for achieving a range of personal goals.
Finally, remember that motivation always ebbs and flows, but it can be nurtured and cultivated. If we do something that gives us a positive dopamine boost, then we’ll want to do more of it. Running can provide such a boost, so the more you run, the more you may find yourself wanting to run. Keep going now, and you’ll find it easier to carry on running through the winter.
Keep going, to keep going!
📷 Members of the Herd at the Great South Run, 2023, via Mike Draper in the Facebook Chat Group