It’s safe to say that having defined New Year’s resolutions or not, most feel this time of year is the start of something new.
Since we rang in the New Year with freezing cold arms, it’s become an even greater challenge to push yourself out the door to stay active. We also add the statistics behind a majority of New Year’s resolutions being abandoned in the first few weeks and the opportunity to have your plans derailed is now real.
I decided to add a few early season races this year to keep me motivated. I can say with certainty they helped get me out the door on a few of those mornings when the temps were below zero. If your racing season is still a few months out, I’ve outlined a few things that can help.
Having fun: This should always be the driver of your active decisions. Choosing whether you want to run outside or inside falls under this category as well. Not everyone wants to run outside in the winter, there is nothing wrong with that! While it can be done if properly dressed, some people just don’t find it fun at all. Why add an extra stressor to the mix? I always recommend folks should run inside on the days where you aren’t feeling the cold.
Switching up activities: Don’t get in the habit of doing the same things over and over again from the start of the year. If you don’t have any races approaching on the calendar and can spend a few weeks doing other activities, go for it! Keeping things fresh gives you something new to look forward to and you don’t get trapped in a rut from the start. There are plenty of great options such as swimming, yoga and fitness classes to pass the time.
Add some speed: While the winter months are synonymous with easy mileage, don’t let that dictate a quarter to a half of your year. Whether you go short and fast (intervals) or opt for something a little less strenuous but for a longer time frame (tempo work), they both have their benefits. Adding in a dash of effort-based work to one workout each week will improve your metabolism, speed and form.
Don’t forget the weights: As runners it can be easy to overlook the weight room. I’ll admit, it’s not where I would prefer to be but as we age it becomes more important. You may not want to become Hans and Franz, but even adding body weight exercises twice a week can pay huge dividends. One of my favorite tools to use is the kettlebell. There are endless exercises you can do with them and they don’t take up much space.