This time of year tests the resolve of even those people most dedicated to their training schedules. But it's also the time when some of the most important base training is laid down for those Spring/early Summer events or challenges (London Marathon entrants will be feeling me on this). For me, with four and a half months to go before I stride out from Minehead at the start of CoastPathRun, February is also a critical period in my training.
But it's not easy. I've got three small kids who like to get up quite early, and go to bed as late as they can. So, apart from my weekend long runs, all my running is done in the wee small hours in the dark and cold. And when you're training for a trail run, you have to run on the trails. That adds another dimension to the night time runs - MUD!
Most of the time when my alarm goes off, I don't want to get up. I don't want to leave my warm, cosy bed for a cold, icy, dark and muddy slog around the countryside. This is when it gets hard, and I'll admit to missing the odd training session through the winter when the warm cloak of my duvet refuses to release me.
So how do you stay motivated to get up and out on these cold dark mornings. Well, there's no secret trick but I've got a few motivators that I remind myself of when bed is clinging on tight:
1. The dog - For me, the look I get from muttles if I rise from my pit late having missed a morning run is enough to guilt me into making sure I DO get up next time. Of course, not everyone has a dog. But essentially he's nothing more than a reasonably flexible, if a little needy, training partner. And we can all find one of those.
2. I think about the goal - So my goal is to get my backside round the 630 miles of South West Coast Path in June. Yours might be achieving a certain time in a race, or just getting over the finish line. Whatever it is, thinking about that goal and visualising it when the alarm goes off definitely helps.
3. The smug feeling I get when I get home - I believe it's all to do with the endorphins.
This is what works for me (most of the time) but I also try not to beat myself up when it doesn't work. Because Winter is naturally a time for a spot of human hibernation.
It's nothing new, but if you can find what works for you, accentuate the positive and give yourself a break when it doesn't work then there's no need to fear the 5.30am alarm anymore...Tags: motivation, running, trail, training, winter