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A relative newcomer to the world of triathlon. No groundbreaking insights, just my thoughts on training, racing and life in general...

Winter training - my top tips on how to get your ass out the door

fannyjaneby fannyjaneSep 26th 2013
At this time of year every man and his dog seems to come out with some great ideas about how to make winter training more endurable. Having lots of long term goals to try and motivate you is all well and good, but what is actually going to get your ass off the sofa or out of bed on a cold, wet autumn/winter day. What's going to make you put in the miles when all you want to do is snuggle up and eat chocolate? (Okay, maybe that's just me...)

If you've read either of my other two posts, you may have picked up that I'm a happy amateur when it comes to sport. So any suggestions I have are purely what I've picked up from years of experience of winter training. There's nothing scientific about it whatsoever!

Top Tip #1: Get your kit on! Back to basics - if I'm struggling to get out; if I'm sitting there thinking "I know I should really go for a run, but it's cold and I don't really want to..." forcing myself to go and get changed into my running kit always pretty much guarantees I get up and go for that run.

Top Tip #2: Line yourself up something nice to eat afterwards. Obviously finding something that's nutritionally sound but also a tasty treat can be a bit of a challenge but I find there's always a place for a cup of tea and a decent-sized slice of cake post-training. If I'm going out in the morning, returning home to a nice big bowl of porridge with lashings of golden syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon is always going to work for me but if porridge isn't your thing, maybe a doorstep bacon sandwich with a dollop of ketchup would work just as well.

Top Tip #3: It's all about short-term rewards. If you're out in the evening, get something lined up on iPlayer (or your On Demand channel/box set of choice) to watch while you eat your post-training treat. Whether you're into Mock the Week or Strictly Come Dancing, relaxing in front of the telly is a treat for most triathletes (because we're usually so busy filling up our lives with work, family, swimming, running, cycling, ironing, sleeping etc.). Making myself sit still for an hour or so and winding down after a session is definitely something I look forward to.

Top Tip #4: Do it with other people. For some reason it's way easier to let ourselves down than to let other people down. If you don't already belong to a triathlon or running club, look one up. Even if it's just for one session a week having an actual appointment to train will always get you out of the door. Similarly, as I have very recently discovered, there are loads of series' of running races that go on around the country eg. once a month (I'm doing my very first Weston Prom Run this evening). Signing up for one of those will give you something to work towards and is also a great way to get you out of hibernation at least once a month. Don't forget to line up the rewards for afterwards though...

Top Tip #5: Think positive. Remember that awesome feeling you get after you've just finished a really good run or freewheeling down a really steep hill on your bike (even better if that hill is on your way home). Try and use the memory of that high to get you up and out.

Top Tip #5b: This isn't a proper top tip - more something I think is important for winter sounds obvious but make sure, when you're out and about during the winter months, that people can see you. Lights, reflective and light coloured clothing are all essential on dark, foggy mornings and evenings, especially if you're going to be out in the countryside where there's less likely to be pavements and street lights and more likely to be badly maintained roads and people driving too fast/not expecting to see runners or cyclists.
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