The first quarter of the year is often spent recovering from the previous winter, deciding on new goals and putting promises into practice. Although the mornings are still dark and the weather a bit cooler, the first few months of the year are the best time to find your motivation to complete your yearly goals.
Data has shown that 80% of resolutions fail by February. With unrealistic promises of daily training and salad for dinner, it's no wonder we quit so soon.
But fear not. We’ve put together some useful tips to help you get motivated and moving.
Incorporate a Weekly Weights Session
Load bearing activity like weightlifting can stimulate an increase in bone density (useful for the older endurance athlete) - compound exercises like squats and deadlifts are great for this. Muscle mass also tends to diminish the older we get, and strength training provides welcome stress on the body and activates the Type 2 (fast-twitch) muscle fibres that you generally neglect as a working triathlete! This can work wonders for your hill-climbing or increasing the power of your swim stroke.
Fuel Your Body With The Right Nutrients
It’s hard motivating yourself to get moving, but it’s a whole lot harder if you’re feeling fatigued through poor nutrition. Think variety. Whole fruits and vegetables in a variety of colours: leafy cruciferous greens like spinach or kale, deep reds like beetroot to aid blood flow and bright yellow peppers to support your immune system. Supplements like zinc, magnesium or vitamin B12 (especially useful for plant-based athletes) can also fight tiredness. Succumbing to a cold can scupper your new year’s training plan, so do your body a favour and fuel it right!
Change Your Training Plan
Reinvigorate your routine with some new workouts. There are plenty of resources available online for turbo or treadmill based sessions. Zwift or TrainerRoad have plenty of ready-made plans if you’re after a bit more direction. Plodding through monotonous, easy miles doesn’t do much to spark your excitement, especially in winter, so try breaking those longstanding habits and worn out training routes.
Don't Go It Alone
Exercising is far less daunting with someone encouraging you - or calling you out on lame excuses! Get your friends together for a Sunday group ride, meet at the pool before work or head down to your local Parkrun. If this isn’t convenient, there are plenty of virtual options. Share your sessions on Strava, and inspire those of us who weren't so quick to leave the couch!
Get a Coach
This one follows on from the last, only a coach isn't as easy to let down on a crisp winter's morning! If you're looking to step it up for the new year and take your performance to new heights, nothing matches the accountability of a paid professional. As a working triathlete, offloading the hassle of formulating a training plan can be a godsend and leaves one less thing to chance. Ask around at a tri-club or do a quick search on social media to find a trusted source.
Invest in a Fitness Tracker
Progress fuels motivation, in turn, fuelling more progress. What better way to gauge your fitness than with a fitness tracker or GPS sports watch. Target key energy zones in your workouts, and eliminate the guesswork in the process. Providing Santa didn't deliver the goods this year, pick one up in the January sales. Even entry-level models from Garmin, Polar or Suunto have tremendous capabilities, tracking things like running rpm, altitude or swim stroke, as well as the usual distance/speed/time metrics. Be warned: it'll have you pacing the hallway before bed as you close in on your daily step count!
Just like a new bit of tech can light the fire within, don't underestimate the power of some fresh fitness threads. In a recent survey conducted by Healthline, 9 out of 10 gym-goers stated that new kit helps them push themselves harder. Contrary to popular belief, motivation follows action - not the other way around. Sometimes all it takes is lacing up those sweet kicks, and before you know it you'll be pounding the pavement setting PBs.
Make sure to browse the latest Zone3 fitness and compression range. Performance orientated pieces for your run or gym session, designed by and for triathletes. We especially love these compression items, which work to prevent muscle soreness and prevent lactic acid build up which in turns prevents injury.
It may just be the nudge you needed to get your winter training started!