3 Ways to Stay Motivated This Winter
How do we stay motivated during the base phase?
Avoid the treadmill. Just joking (kind of).
3 Actual Ways to Stay Motivated in Winter
Winter months offer a refreshing change of pace - snowy window panes, sipping hot chocolate under a blanket, and soaking in your accomplishments from the fall’s race season. But the colder months also give us an opportunity to return to the fundamentals of our training.
It's Base Phase Season.
As the precursor to more intense workouts, this training phase prioritizes building endurance, enhancing aerobic capacity, and laying the groundwork for success down the line. The base phase builds our foundational fitness, which supports the rest of our training plan - and its importance cannot be overstated!
The colder months, often following a training peak in the fall, provide an ideal time for base training. Without the pressure of performance-oriented training, we can focus on fundamental fitness components. Rather than chasing personal records, the base phase encourages a holistic approach to conditioning, helping to lay a robust physical foundation that will prove invaluable in the coming months.
But how do we stay motivated during this different type of training?
1. Welcome the Winter Landscape
Add Variety to your Training: The base phase is the perfect time to diversify your cross training activities. This is the perfect time to really go deep with weight training activities. Try learning more about progressive overload and compound weight movements. Rather than building mileage, here we build strength.
In addition to building a stable weight training plan, take this opportunity to go skiing, winter hiking or even ice skating and still proudly claim it as part of your training. Adding these alternatives will not only build excitement into your routine but also engage different muscle groups, fostering a more well-rounded fitness.
Group Activities: Joining winter run clubs go a long way when working to keep running in the routine, and adds a social element to training. Even just having friends to hold us accountable helps keep motivation strong. Having someone to train with (even virtually if needed) amplifies the joy of winter training.
Set Some Goals: The base phase is an opportune time to set new goals to be excited about. Whether it's improving weight training capacity, slowly building weekly mileage, or improving stamina, breaking down aspirations into manageable milestones boosts motivation and ensures sustained passion.
2. Mind Games
Winter Workout Mode: Winter is a great time to feel like a hard core runner. Crank up your music, bundle up, and enjoy the intense feeling over running through snow.
Look around. See anyone else on the trail? Didn't think so. Go hard in the winter, and enjoy the feeling of being the only soul brave enough to train hard.
Celebrate Progress: Without a race or specific goal in mind, the winter months can seem long and progress can seem minimal. But we promise you, your efforts in the base phase are absolutely rewarded! Regularly assess and celebrate your achievements, no matter how incremental. A new weight PR at the gym, trying indoor cycling for the first time, running your first frosty 5k - whatever it is, be sure to acknowledge your progress to reinforce a positive mindset and maintain passion for the journey.
3. Adapt to Conditions
Proper Gear: The winter cold demands proper gear to ensure comfort and safety during outdoor activities. Invest in quality equipment and pay attention to your body through different temperatures. It can be helpful to track the temperature, what you wore, and how you felt on each activity. This will allow you to recognize when to grab an extra layer before heading out the door.
Indoor Alternatives: While we all want to get outside when we can, we also have to admit that sometimes that won't happen. Maybe you didn't have your coffee one morning, and without that warm cup of motivation, the outdoor run just isn't happening. So having a back up plan here is key. Whether it's a spin class, a home workout routine, or alternative strength training session, these alternatives ensure consistency even when weather conditions pose a challenge.
The base phase is the cornerstone of winter training. Embrace its importance, and by doing so, not only will you maintain your passion for training, but you'll also set the stage for a year of fitness marked by resilience and adaptability. Let this winter be a transformative season for your training, rather than a deterrent.