15 Ways to Stay Motivated This Winter

Keep it simple, smarty (K.I.S.S.).  The best way to overcome our excuses is to not create them in the first place. The more things that need to fall into place in order to get to the gym on time, the more likely we are to find a reason not to go. If you have to drive too far in the snow or ride a cold subway across town, you're creating extra hurdles that will attract excuses.

Keep it simple: go for a 25-minute run around the office block at lunch, do three laps of your neighborhood first thing, or switch things up at the gym by using only the cardio machines you don't have to wait for. You'll finish a quality workout with less hassle and at a pace that feels rewarding.

Warm up indoors. Do some jumping jacks, leg lifts or pushups in your living room before heading out. Not only will it get your heart rate going and your blood circulating, it will make it very difficult to slide back into bed. Excuses be gone!

Tap into technology. Proclaiming your intention to workout each day on Facebook, Twitter, your blog or online community (e.g. Nike+) can strengthen your commitment, even if it is to avoid the embarrassment and guilt of not following through.

Excuse: "I can't find the same passion or fire to do it regularly."

What drives you in the summer is probably different from what motivates you in winter. When there's not a big race on the horizon, what fuels your daily ambition?

See the big picture. Find, or make your own 12-week calendar from January to March. Put it on one page and post it somewhere you'll see it every day (bedroom wall or office desk) . When you look at all three months together you realize how fast it's going to go.

Use this to plan and track your workouts and the winter events you'd like to participate in. Winter can seem long but if you focus on the big picture, you'll see the spring thaw is just around the corner. With it looming that close, you'll be more motivated to get fit and ready for the first race of the year.

Use mini-goals for major rewards. Set small targets that lead to higher intensity, focus and discipline to stay on track each day. Perhaps the number of miles this week, the number of workouts over the next seven days, or steady improvements in strength gains on the bench press. For maximum motivation, always write your goals down, making them specific and measurable, and track progress so you can reward yourself for the results.

Create your own challenge. Speak to the gym manager and together devise new and motivating challenges for members. If your health club doesn't do an indoor triathlon or duathlon, take charge and make it happen. Not only does it keep you fit but it helps build your commitment to train and create camaraderie with other members.

Remember what works for you. If you find yourself suitably motivated in the summer, what specifically created that motivation: Targets? Goals? Friends? Coach? Competition? The great outdoors? How can you tap into the driving force and the feeling it creates in the summer and replicate something similar now?

Turn from student to teacher. If you're an experienced athlete, now is a great time to offer your knowledge to someone who could use extra guidance to get into the sport. Is there someone you know that has hinted at trying a triathlon? Become their mentor. Just be sure to ease them into it and go at their pace, not yours. You'll find that sharing your enthusiasm with someone else also gives you enthusiasm to fuel your own workouts.

Step out of the ordinary. Months of in-season intensity and pushing your limits will tire the best of us. Do you need a physical break from what you've always done to give your body time to recover and heal?

Take a yoga or pilates class. They are easy on the joints but provide great lasting benefits. Do you need a mental break from a tough season? Cross train with a different sport that doesn't require a stop watch or power meter. This will help ease your mind from information overload so you can stay active without stressing over stats.

Don't hesitate. Give one of these a try this week and share your ideas for what keeps you motivated.

Active logoSet a goal: Sign up for your next triathlon.


Chris Janzen is the founder of TriathleteMind.com, the leading source of inner game coaching on the web; author of 8 1/2 Steps to Your Best Triathlon Year Ever! and creator of the 5 Forces Formula for Breakthrough Triathlon Performance. Chris is a leading expert when it comes to helping triathletes master the inner game to train better, race faster, and achieve their personal best. 

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