Show me the money!

Beat the Brrrrrr!

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For
most of us who take a sabbatical during the winter months, the motivation to start
training again comes when we wake up one morning and suddenly realise our
favourite outfit no longer fits, or our family and friends start remarking
about our “late growth spurt.” So we decide to start training again the next
day, carefully select our kit and put our shoes out, and set the alarm with
every intention of waking up and teaching the tar a lesson in the morning. But
something changes during the night…

 

The
alarm buzzes and as you slowly open your eyes, all snug in your warm, toasty
bed, feeling energised by a good night’s sleep, but then you recall the promise
you made to yourself only a few hours back. It’s amazing how many excuses suddenly
come to mind as to why it’s not a good idea to head out for a run. With that,
it’s a done deal: The alarm is reset for another hour, maybe even two, the
duvet is pulled all the way up and it’s back the beauty sleep that was so
rudely interrupted. The problem arises when you eventually do get out of bed
and walk past your kit and shoes, which seem to be sitting there with that
mournful look that says, “Why don’t you want to play with us?”

 

JUST DO IT

As
you go to bed tonight, put your alarm out of arm’s reach, so that you can’t
simply lean over and hit snooze. When it goes off, you’ll have to get up to
switch it off, and once you’re up, there’s less chance that you’re going to
climb back into bed and carry on where you left off. The toughest part of
training in winter is getting out of bed, but once you’re up and out on the
road, you soon realise that actually it’s not as bad, or as cold, as you
thought.

 

Suddenly
you’re feeling good and energised, and as you walk into the office, you hold
your head high, knowing that you did something hundreds of others were unable
to do today: You defeated yourself! But if you really can’t bear the thought of
heading out the door into the icy cold dark of the early mornings, don’t worry,
because there are other ways to keep your fitness levels ticking over in
winter.

 

1 Hit the gym: Do a
10-15min easy warm-up on a spinning bike, the Stair Master or the elliptical
trainer, all with low resistance gradually building up to a higher RPM. Next,
head to the treadmill, set the elevation to 1.5% (to offset the fact that
treadmill training is easier due to no wind resistance), and play around with
various 10-20min sessions of quality, for example:

?        
Run easy for 90 seconds, then hard for 60 seconds,
repeating 6-10 times.

?        
Increase the pace and elevation to 4-5% for 60 seconds
and then easy for 120 seconds, repeating 5-6 times to give you a great hill
session.

?        
Do a tempo session of 5min easy and then increase the
pace until you’re hitting your 5 or 10k race pace and hold that for 10-15min,
then easy for another 5min.

Be
creative and use your imagination. Once you’re done with your quality session
on the treadmill, hit the spinning bike once more for a 5-10 minute easy cool-down.

 

2 Join the class: Sign up for
one of the group classes for a spinning, aerobics or yoga class. It’s far
easier getting back to training when you know others will be slogging it out
next to you.

 

3 Hit the indoor pool: Do a few
swimming sessions, which are great for core muscle strength and builds your
cardiovascular system. The water temperature at most gyms is normally around 25
degrees – warmer than outside!

 

4 Skip the morning gloom: There is no
rule stating that to be a runner one has to train in the morning or evening.
Why not slip out for a quick 20-30min run during your lunch break? If that
doesn’t work for you, head out in the afternoon after work, when temperatures
tend to be around the high teens – ideal for running.

 

5 Give yourself a goal: Get out the
race calendar and identify a race to do in the next month or two, write it on a
piece of paper and put it up on the fridge, next to your bed, or some place
where you’ll see it often. Make it your goal and you’ll find all the motivation
you need!

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