15 Ways to Stay Motivated This Winter

It's funny isn't it? In spite of all the admiration you receive for your dedication, discipline and commitment to training and racing in the summer, and despite your pride for living an active lifestyle, it can still be challenging to maintain day-to-day motivation for triathlon training in the winter.

It can also be confusing when you don't feel like your normal self. On the inside you feel like you lack drive or you can't find your mojo to get up and go. That's when the excuses start to creep in.

So, here are 15 excuse busters to nudge you, push you, or inspire you to stay motivated and keep moving through the cold months.

Excuse: "It's too hard to get out of bed on cold, dark mornings."

It's true that temperature and light have direct impact on our body rhythms in the winter extremes. But there are simple things you can do to encourage yourself to leave the comfort of your warm bed.

Create heat. Adjust the thermostat timer to warm your home or bedroom before the alarm goes off. If the temperature outside the duvet is as enjoyable as inside, poof! the excuse is gone. Even better, put your workout clothes on the heater or radiator so they are toasty warm and ready for you when you climb out of bed.

Recreate early sunlight. Invest in a bedside lamp that simulates natural daylight. For example, the Phillips 'Wake-up Light', endorsed by the National Sleep Foundation, gradually increases the light and comes with built in clock and alarm. Starting your day with natural light will help activate your internal clock to get ready to take on the day.

Tune your alarm. Rather than a normal, annoying alarm clock, use your iPod or similar device to play specific songs that get you going. It doesn't need to be your techno dance mix but something that lifts your mood and energy will do wonders for your ability to get out of bed on the first try.

Find a friend. Find someone who will commit to joining you in the morning for walks or workouts, and hold you accountable for showing up. Knowing someone is waiting for you to share the pain of the early darkness might be just the stimulus you need to throw back the covers and get out of the house.

Excuse: "I may be out of bed but I still don't want to go outside."

It's easy to fall into a vicious cycle of excuses that destroy momentum and kill motivation to be active. Use these ideas to boost your mood from the get go.

Put your head under water. Rather than clinging to the comfort of your favorite housecoat while shuffling to the kitchen for a coffee, make a beeline to the shower. The water will wake you. Getting dressed right away also will help get you past the urge to lounge lazily over your latte. 

Dress the part. The truth is there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices. Is it time to upgrade to proper winter performance gear? If you've balked at the cost of higher-priced winter hats, gloves, tights, tops or jackets for outdoor activity, just ask anyone who's used them: The price is easily offset by the increase in enjoyment, comfort and enthusiasm that helps counteract the cold. If you already have some, maybe it's time to treat yourself to a new piece. A new base layer or trail running shoes might be the bribe you need to head outdoors on a regular basis.

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