Beating The Winter Blues – How to stay motivated when temps drop and the days are short

     For many athletes, the holiday season is the toughest time of year. The temptations are many and the races are few, and it’s all too easy to roll over in bed on a cold morning instead of heading out the door.  We can almost feel our hard-earned fitness leaking away. And the weather isn’t the worst part of it; often the worst culprit is the lack of motivation. Here are a few ways to get back on track.
    Take A Break. When you really don’t feel like training, sometimes the best thing to do is to just let it go for a week or two. There’s an old line that goes “you can’t miss me ‘til I go away.” That’s certainly true here. If you take a break now, guilt-free, you’ll come back stronger and more motivated than ever. That’s why they call this the off-season, remember?
     Try Something Different. You might find that you’re not really tired of training; you just need a break from your regular routine. Winter is the perfect time to try new ways to stay fit. Take a kickboxing class, try cross-country skiing, or go for a hike. A change in your routine will help you keep a lot of your fitness while recharging your mental batteries.
     Be Creative. When the weather is demoralizing, it’s time to find new ways to break a sweat. When snow hits the ground, surprise your neighbors and shovel the whole block or dig out a few cars. Everyone will think you’re a helluva pal, and you’ll get in a total body workout. Or do repeats in a stairwell or underground parking garage ramp.
     Appreciate What You’ve Accomplished. Too often we’re so busy getting ready for our next race that we don’t take the time to look back on what we’ve done. Reviewing your past season’s racing and training highlight reel will leave you wondering what the new year will have in store for you.
     Look Ahead. Thinking of past glory fun, but planning for the future is better. Map out your race schedule, and think about what you could change to improve on your past performances. Is it time to upgrade your gear? Or should you try a new training technique? Plan on making at least one change in in the coming year.

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About horowitzrun

Jeff is a certified running, cycling, and triathlon coach, and is the author of "My First 100 Marathons" (Skyhorse Press 2008) and "Smart Marathon Training" (Velo Press 2011). An obviously addicted runner, Jeff has run at least one marathon in every state and on 6 continents, including marathons in South Africa, China, Bangkok, and Antarctica. Jeff is available for group, one-on-one, and virtual coaching. Options include: 1. Basic Training Plan. This includes a customized training schedule geared towards a goal race, with a detailed running schedule that would include all distances and target times for each workout, including speedwork, tempo, and endurance sessions. 2. Complete Fitness and Race Plan. This includes the plan listed above, plus the non-running workouts and drills that runners need for better overall fitness and performance. You would get strength & core workouts, as well as run-specific training drills and stretches. 3. Virtual Coaching. This includes all of the above, implemented on a week-by-week basis. We review each week's progress at week's end so that adjustments can be made. The program is tailored to suit you right up to race day. It involves more contact, on a weekly or even daily basis. 4. Full Coaching for athletes in the Washington DC area. All of the above, plus a weekly workout together including speedwork, drills, and strength training. 5. Individual track sessions. One-on-one track-based workouts. Contact Jeff for pricing.
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