It can be easy to feel demotivated to lace up your running shoes and get moving when it’s cold and dark outside. But don’t let the January blues hinder your training.
You may have started the year with good intentions and a renewed sense of energy for your healthy habits, so it’s important that you don’t forget your reasons for setting your goals when your enthusiasm starts to wane.
Run 4 Wales Race Director, Steve Brace, is a double Olympian having represented Great Britain in the men’s marathon in the 1992 and 1996 summer Olympics. He’s also a former winner of the Paris and Berlin Marathon, and ran his marathon PB of 2:10:35 in Houston in 1996.
He shares his top tips on how to stay motivated and keep on track:
Run with others. It could be a running club or it could be arranging to run with a friend. If you’ve made plans with other people, you’re far less likely to want to cancel and let them down.
Layer up. Getting out the door can be the hardest part when it’s cold, but if you’re wearing suitable kit and you know you won’t be cold on your run, it can help. Layers that can be removed as your warm up, as well as gloves and a buff should help protect your extremities and ensure your run is still enjoyable. If it’s dark outside make sure you get yourself seen by other road users by wearing hi-viz and a headtorch.
Me time. For a lot of people, we’ve just been through a particularly busy time of year with Christmas festivities and New Year celebrations. Going for a run is the perfect chance for a bit of me-time, where you’re not only looking after your physical and mental wellbeing but allowing yourself to switch off.
After-run treat. Why not give yourself something to look forward to when you get back in from your run? It could be your favourite meal, a nice warm bath or a hot beverage and a piece of cake (or my personal favourite, some custard creams)!
Set a target. If you haven’t done so already, a great way to stay motivated and keep you on track with your training is by entering a race. Having a date set in the diary will give you something to aim for and work towards – especially if it’s an ambitious goal. At Run 4 Wales we put on a range of events suitable for all levels of runners whether you’re looking to complete your first 10K or aiming for a marathon PB.
Don’t shy away from winter. The colder months are a great time for putting in the hard miles and get in your slow distance runs. It means that you’ll have set a good base foundation for the spring as race season begins.
First up is the ABP Newport Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K on 28th April, followed by the Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay 10k on 19th May. The Ogi Porthcawl 10K takes place on 7th July with the CDF 10K being the final 10K in the Welsh capital in the Run4 Wales 10K series on 1st September. The R4W race calendar then closes with the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon on 6th October.