Winter Training Motivation

Winter Training Motivation

There is no doubt about it, it’s cold. The ice on my car windscreen says so. How is it possible to stay motivated for your fitness journey during the cold, dark and wet winter months? Let’s look at the problems we face with winter motivation and discuss some ways to keep going even when the odds seem stacked against us.

Why is winter training so tough?

Not only is it cold but for the full-time worker we seem to be living in eternal darkness. Out come the layers, the lights and the vitamin D and the summer bike moves onto the turbo for the indefinite future. Also, is it just me, or does getting ready to anything take twice as long in the long winter months?

I like to think of myself as a mentally strong girl. However, I do in fact seem to struggle with winter motivation more than I would like. I was having a particularly rough patch last year. Then, one of my friends reminded me I am, in fact not a superhuman. Like everyone else my body needs rest.

I am guilty of viewing myself as different to much of the population. This perhaps, a result of my obsessive nature and desire to be the best I can be. I often push myself too far, and in one circumstance to breaking point. It’s only in the last year that I have begun to decipher between being lazy and my body calling out for a rest. One of the most valuable life lessons I have learned.

What’s your why?

I recently wrote an article for my blog about my ‘why’. For me it is crucial in terms of motivation. If you are not working towards something it can be very easy to fall out of love with what you are doing. This results in feeling lost and a struggle for motivation. So, ask yourself; why do I do what I do? You might surprise yourself. Once you have answered the ‘why’ question, look at what is stopping you putting the training in. Now I am not talking in terms of work or family commitments, but mentally, why are you holding yourself back?

Forming the habit

I have had a number of people ask me how I manage to drag myself out of bed for a 6:30 swim or run. Well it’s because I have made it a habit, it’s part of my daily routine, and you might say I would feel lost without it. The alarm goes off, I get up and I get on with it, knowing that I will always feel better for having done the session. The winter months are all about building strength to be enjoyed and used in the summer months. Don’t get me wrong, very occasionally there will be a day where I choose to sleep instead, but this goes back to my previous comment about deciphering between being lazy and my body calling out for a rest.
I often find the hardest bit of a session is getting out of the door, so if you get that far you are 60% there.

Manipulating the mind

I often find myself picturing a time I felt particularly strong, for example running along the red carpet at the Ironman Wales finish line. I use this to drive myself forwards, because if you have done it before, you can do it again. Retaining a strong and positive mindset is crucial to training and racing, and if you can’t seem to do so the issue might be bigger than you think. I also find having a mantra really helps, mine is:  ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’

If you really find yourself in a hole, it might be time to look at your life as a whole. Something might be out of kilter and need addressing. be it work, family, or social life. If something is stressful and drawing on your energy, it will have an impact on the rest of your life too.

If you have any other top tips, feel free to comment below.

Be TrueSapien. Reject Mediocrity.

Thanks for reading and be sure to head over to my blog page!

Pocket Rocket Rach

How I Began Open Water Marathon Swimming – Alina Warren

How I Began Open Water Marathon Swimming – Alina Warren

Alina Warren – An introduction

Hi, I am Alina, an open water marathon swimmer from West Wales. I started open water swimming in the summer of 2009, when I was 16. I am a PhD student at Aberystwyth University, and I can be found in the water when not in the office.

How I started open water marathon swimming

My journey to starting open water swimming was completely unplanned. I was on holiday with my parents, both keen canoeists. My father had taken me out into the lake to learn the basics and I of course fell out and had to swim to the edge. It was quite unpleasant and certainly not the moment I found a love for the open water.

The next day my dad challenged me to swim the width of the lake, a very short distance, but a challenge all the same. It was very cold and I struggled across, with a mixture of doggy paddle and backstroke. I have always been one for a challenge and my father knew it. The next day he challenged me to the length, a half mile and I succeeded. The subsequent weekends after we had returned from our holiday he continue to drive me to local lakes in Wales. After a few of these weekends I managed to master some basic front crawl and my swimming was quickly improving. My love for the open water was found when I swam my first mile, doing front crawl, without stopping. From then on challenges of greater distance, in less time were constantly being set.

I had never considered myself a swimmer

I try and explain to people that I was never a swimmer, nor did I ever plan to be a swimmer. It happened by accident really. I have always enjoyed sports, but had never realised I had an aptitude for endurance sport, as I had never really been exposed to it as a child.

From beginner to swimming across Scotland!

Three years after I started swimming in the open water we (my dad and I) decided to come up with a challenge. A challenge I could train for as our weekend trips were becoming a little monotonous. I gained a fantastic coach and started training in an endless pool multiple times per week as well as the open water on weekends. The challenge we came up with was to swim across Scotland, using the great Glen Way, a 117km channel from the east coast to the west coast. We gathered a team made up of 1 land support, Ady, a team Dr on the water, Simon, and my Dad and Gary, both experienced canoeists who led the expedition as well as sighted me whist swimming. We succeeded and gained a world record for being the first swimmer to ever complete this waterway. My love for swimming has only ever grown and it’s now a fundamental part of my day. Living on the coast gives me the opportunity to swim in the open water as much as the weather allows, and I also have a coach based here with an endless pool too.

Keep up to date with my swimming, training and trips away by following my Instagram (@alina_warren), and please feel free to get in contact!