How to keep running through the colder seasons

Half Marathon Training with www.naturalmatter.co.uk

The thought of running in the dark and cold did not seem too thrilling this week. The nights are drawing in and the weather is cooling. Autumn has arrived. The question is, can I keep up the weekly runs that I have been doing through the winter months? How can I make sure I stick with my fitness plan?

As with any change or new training plan it’s all about getting prepared. Here are a few ideas on how to keep your motivation going through the colder months ahead.

1. Print out a running plan and stick it somewhere you look every day.

Running training plans are a great motivator. They are readily available for free on the Internet, depending on what you wish to achieve with your running. If you are looking to increase stamina, distance or perhaps complete your first 5km, there is a training plan for you. Print your training plan out and stick it on the kitchen wall. Offer yourself some kind of reward for sticking to your running plan. Try out http://www.coolrunning.com for free training plans.

2. Change your running route.

A change is as good as a rest, so its time to mix it up a bit. Negotiating a new route with new inclines and declines can help with motivation. Try planning out a new route. Make sure you choose well-lit routes and wear high visibility clothing. The dark evenings can be dangerous when negotiating traffic. Try www.mapmyrun.com for planning new running routes in your area. You can save runs and distances achieved.

3. A short contract gym membership.

Why not see if there is a special discount for winter only membership at your local gym. Many gyms offer a discounted rate for half of the year. You could be training on treadmills in a well-lit, air-conditioned gym, instead of slogging it out on roads in the rain.

4. Join a running club.

There are many running clubs all over the UK. Group running can be a great motivator. Not only is it harder to get out of running when you go with friends but it can inspire you to push yourself harder. Why not check out whether there is a local running group in your area. Many groups meet for free. It’s easy to find a free running group on some of the social media network sites. Make sure it is legitimate before you go. Perhaps you could try and persuade your partner or friend to start running with you.

5. Put your name down for an organised run in the spring.

Perhaps you have always wanted to complete your first 5km run. Feel like moving onto a 10km, half marathon or even the BIG one, the full marathon. Put your name down now and pick up a training plan to match. Having a goal is the best way to get you out of the front door on a dark, cold night. The www.naturalmatter.co.uk team is taking part in the Reading half marathon in March 2013. Have a look online for your nearest run.

6. Get yourself some new running clothes, reflective lightweight and waterproof.

The weather is likely to be less than desirable, so the less excuses you have for not running the better. Buy some nice running gear to go out in and you’ll want to use it. Why not ask for some running accessories for a Christmas present.

7. Build a home gym.

If you have a spare room or enough space at home to jump around in, why not build your own gym. Check out the free ad websites like www.gumtree.com for a second hand exercise bike, rowing machine or cross trainer. Do research before you buy and see if the exercise equipment you are interested in has had any good reviews. Perhaps you could buy a skipping rope, a cheap bench and a set of dumbbells. The amount you spend on the gym equipment will still be less than a year’s gym membership. If you don’t have the space for a home gym perhaps you or the kids have a games console. There are loads of fitness games available with personal trainers who tailor the workouts to your fitness level. Check this book out on using your own home gym. The great home gym handbook.

8. Change the time of day that you run.

Perhaps you can squeeze your run into a different time of the day. How about trying a half hour run three times a week at lunchtime. Why not walk your kids to school and run back every day if you live nearby. Maybe run home from work a couple of days a week instead of catching the bus or getting stuck in rush hour traffic.

9. Try a different indoor sport.

Join a sports club and start using the facilities there to try something new. Have you ever considered squash or badminton? There are fantastic facilities all over the UK. If you don’t have anyone to play with, why not try joining a team or choose a more individual based sport like swimming. swimming equipment.

10. Ever thought of becoming a sports volunteer?

Simply getting involved or being around people who are interested in sport will inspire you to get yourself moving. There are plenty of volunteering opportunities in sport across the UK. Check out volunteering websites.  http://www.sportengland.org/support__advice/volunteers.aspx or http://www.sportanddev.org/toolkit/career_centre/volunteer_opportunities/

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