Winter is most definitely on the way. The temperature is dropping and dark nights are here to stay for now. I always find Winter months the hardest for training and this year is no exception.
For the last few weeks stress and exhaustion from the Christmas build up is playing havoc on my running – especially when running solo. Yesterday as I realised the eight mile run I planned was going to be solo my first thought was “I will just have a lie in.” Giving myself a stern talking to, after all I am going to have to run 26.2 miles solo, I got myself up and out. The run was painful, it was boring and I just could not drive myself to keep going – ending at 4.5 miles. I have been so spoilt with having a running buddy over the last month or so, that running alone seemed such a painful process. But it is something I am going to have to get over quickly. Come New Year, the runs will become longer, harder and most likely at times alone.
So in order to get myself into a good mindset and to keep myself motivated I have listed some key points to help me get through the winter.
Make a plan and stick to it.
The key to success is careful planning. So far since signing up to the London Marathon I have kept to schedule, planned out routes and until recently it had been working. So for the remainder of 2016 and into the New Year I will continue to plan in my runs – short runs during the week and long runs at the weekend. Mixing this up with different classes will ensure I don’t get bored and it will mean I am not always out in the cold.
Don’t compare myself to others.
Until recently I had been constantly comparing myself to other members at Regiment Fitness. I was giving myself a hard time because I could not run as fast or do as much as the next person. Giving my membership up for the next few months has done me the world of good. I am no longer looking at others, questioning my ability and becoming frustrated in the process. I am enjoying my classes, knowing that I am doing something I can excel at.
With the English weather being as it is, I need to ensure that I have gear for all weathers. Let’s face it, I am likely to encounter all kinds of weather conditions over the next few months so I need to be prepared in order to make sure I am comfortable during training. My current gear consists of one layer on my legs and three on top; vest, long-sleeved running top and a running gilet. In addition I make sure I now have running lights round my ankles for safety and my Camelbak which can carry my water, keys, phone and a small amount of cash – just in case.
Take one day at a time.
Although I need to be forward planning, I also need to make sure that I take this training one step at a time. It is not going to be easy, there will most likely be tears. There will be days, like yesterday, when I feel so demotivated. There will be bad runs. There will be good runs. I just have to accept each day as it comes, shake off the bad runs and look to be better next time.
My diet of late has not been fantastic. Christmas treats constantly available round the office, parties and lunches are all taking their toll. My gluten-free diet has been hard to keep to at times, with my main weakness being mince pies. I am allowing myself to let this go for now. Once Christmas is over and the treats are few and far between, I will become more strict – ensuring I stick to plan, even keeping a food diary to assess each week.
Give myself a break.
One of the biggest factors I have to consider is health. I have not had the best year, I am still in recovery from pneumonia and I have to keep that in mind during training. Although I have been given the go ahead from my consultant to train and run the London Marathon I always have to be wary of the signs. Therefore If I am running and I feel the need to walk at times, I will do so. The same applies on the day itself. There is no point pushing myself to the point where I am either in danger of damaging my health further or (my biggest fear) not completing the race itself. I have to remember how far I have come to get back my strength and stop giving myself a hard time when runs do not go to plan.
The most important. Rest days will mean more in the lead up to the big day. As much as I hate being inactive I have to remember these days will help my muscles repair and enable me to keep running. I am getting better at embracing rest days than I used to, but this is still work in progress. Planning to encorporate sports massages and time using a hot tub in a near by hotel will become a regular part of rest days too.
Embrace the outdoors
Running indoors has never been something for me. The treadmill both bores and scares me – with fears that I will fly off. I have always much prefered running in the great outdoors, being blessed with some beautiful running routes this is not hard.Lately the long runs have meant early dark starts; but there is nothing like running during a winter sunrise. I hope to see more of these throughout the course of my training.
So that’s it. Thats my plan to keep strong and motivated throughout the Winter months. I need to remain positive. I know I will have bad days, I will be frustrated at times. But I need to keep focused on that end goal…..
Imagining the finish line. Getting that medal.