Over Christmas it's so easy to become complacent, lazy and a bit less fit than you were prior to mid December. So how do I manage to keep myself motivated? Here are my top three tips for runners to keep motivated during the festive period.
1) Identify races for early 2017
This year to beat the bulge I've signed up to a couple of races in January which should keep me focused on my training. My first race is on January 1st which should prevent me from drinking too much over Hogmanay. It's 4 miles so nothing too taxing and it's a great way to see all my running buddies and wish them a Happy New Year.
I am also taking part in a 6 race trail series over the winter months, rather than cross country this year. We have raced three races already and I have managed to do well in these individual races, which puts me in a good position for the overall series. The next race is 10k at the end of January so this will keep me motivated to keep the shorter, faster paced runs in.
2) Good kit
Training through the winter is never easy as you have less daylight. My morning run is in the dark and so is my evening run and so the only time I get to run in the daylight is during the weekend. To say my motivation drops during the winter is probably an understatement. The temperature is rarely above 5C and even though it's forecast to possibly be the warmest Christmas in history, the wind chill is still making it feel cold - especially with Storm Barbara on the way.
Each morning I wake up, check the temperature outside via my mobile phone and then decide which layers to pull on. This is when the perks of being an ashmei ambassador really kick in as I have plenty of kit options. The use of merino in the ashmei kit means you are always going to be at a comfortable temperature. The main check is whether it's raining to let me decide whether I need my Lite Jacket or my Softshell Jacket if there is a risk of heavy rain. It's amazing to see the jackets in action and see the droplets of rain sit on the jacket rather than soaking through.
Having so many options means that I can regulate my body temp perfectly and never overheat so whether it's a tempo run or a long slow run, I feel comfortable and means I can concentrate on the run rather than thinking I need to take a layer off to try and cool down. The ashmei long sleeved kit has to be my favourite as they have built in features such as hidden mitts and thumb holes which means you can keep your hands warm at the start of a run and once you warm up there is nothing to take off or stow away somewhere.
No matter what the weather or temperature though, so far this winter I've been running in my ashmei shorts and I've been fine. I think it's going to need to be really cold, maybe down in the -5 or -6C before I feel I need to pull on my tights and even then, it might only happen if there is sleet & wind forecast.
3) Plan your runs
A routine really helps keep me running. If I plan a couple of days in advance then I know what I'm doing, Mandy knows what I'm doing and we can plan our days around the runs I need to do. I try and plan the mileage and what route I'll be running so that there is zero hesitation or reason for excuses. If the weather is horrendous outside, it's amazing how easy it is to say "I'll go out later" or "Oh! I don't have any clean kit so I can't run". However, if I am due to be running first thing in the morning, I am up and out without thinking about it. It's even better to have your kit laid out the night before, then there is no thinking involved and you are out the door before you know it.
Hopefully these tips will encourage more runners out during this time of year and remember if you see a fellow runner out and about always say hi, it also helps with motivation - even if I am working so hard I can only grunt in return!