Quick Wins to Increase Proactivity Over The Off-Season

As the cold creeps in, we often struggle to find the motivation to get out of our warm, cosy beds and hit our morning training sessions. It’s just so tempting to hit that snooze button! If this sounds like you, try our top 10 quick wins to maintain your focus, smash your fitness goals and keep on reaching new limits throughout the cold weather! Brrrrrr!!!

Get up as soon as your alarm goes off – without hitting snooze!

Hitting snooze on the alarm makes it all the more tempting to stay in bed and skip your morning session altogether. What’s more, repeatedly snoozing your alarm can cause your body confusion; You’re tricking it into going back to ‘sleep mode’. This can result in you being more tired and foggy throughout the day, which is referred to as sleep inertia. So, get up as soon as your alarm goes off – before you even have a chance to consider skipping your morning session. When you wake up, think of one thing you’re really excited about doing that day, and the motivation will kick in.

Make your bed in the morning

This symbolises that it is time for your day to begin, and your sleep is over.  Unconsciously, it can make you feel more alert and ready for the day. An action that takes 30 seconds but will give you more energy throughout the day.

Invest in a SAD light box

A light box is a lamp, which has been designed to mimic the effect of natural sunlight, rather than artificial light. These light boxes are aimed at those with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but suitable for anyone that feels low, lethargic and tired during the winter due to the change in weather.

Using a light box in the morning will give you increased energy and improved mood. Many will come with an alarm, and slowly get brighter in the run-up to the alarm. This is like a sunrise, and perfect for those mornings when you wake up in the dark.

Waking up in the dark is proven to be harder, as our melatonin levels are connected to light detection. Melatonin is a sleep hormone, which is released throughout your sleep. When you detect light, melatonin levels will lower. Light released by a light box will trigger this suppression of melatonin, making it easier to wake up.

Check your Vitamin D levels

If you’re feeling more tired than usual during the winter, you may be experiencing Vitamin D deficiency. This is because we have less exposure during the day to natural light, a key source of vitamin D, which is crucial for so many processes in our body. We recommend arranging an appointment with your doctor to have your Vitamin D levels checked.

Book a class, PT session, or training session with a friend

Having plans in place where people are reliant on you to turn up means it is much more difficult to skip your morning session and go back to bed. You will be accountable for the session. As well as this, it makes the session more entertaining and you may look forward to it more.

Convince a friend to meet you at the gym for a workout and a catch-up. You won’t want to let them down. If you’ve booked and paid for a PT session, skipping simply isn’t an option as they will be there waiting for you. This is the same with booking a gym class. Also, is the financial loss really worth the extra time in bed?

Prepare all your workout kit and work bag the night before

Preparing everything you need for tomorrow the night before, means that you have very few things to do in the morning before you leave the house for your training session. You just need to wake up, get dressed, brush your teeth, grab your bag and go. Simples! This makes your morning fast and easy, with little time for excuses to stop you getting your workout in.

Buy the correct kit

Are you properly equipped to face the cold and early mornings? If your muscles aren’t warm enough throughout your workout, then they will stiffen up and increase your risk of injury. By having the right kit that makes you feel good, your motivation levels will stay high and your performance will improve. We love the Zone3 Polar Fleece Robe for keeping ourselves warm, it’s easy to throw on and will ensure that you start warm.

Get a good routine and stick to it

When you are in a routine, it makes early morning training sessions that much easier. Your body and mind know what to expect and are used to it. If you’re sleeping in until midday on Sunday morning and then trying to get up for 5am on Monday morning, the 5am start will feel even worse as your routine is so sporadic. Get up at similar times every day and then you may find you naturally wake up and don’t even need your alarm! It may be difficult for the first few weeks, but it gets easier – trust us!

Write down your top reasons for why you do triathlon and pin it to your wall

This is a great way to consistently remind yourself why you are training. Ask yourself:

  • Why did you choose to take up triathlon?
  • Why is triathlon important to you?
  • Why is your 2019 A Race important to you?

Once you have pinned these reasons to your wall, they will always motivate you to continue when you need it the most.

Set mini goals

Your next triathlon may not be until Summer 2019, which feels like a long way away and sometimes makes it hard to stay motivated. To stay focused and on track, set yourself mini goals or book some more casual runs with smaller time-frames. This will help your motivation levels, as you’ll be consistently hitting your goals. Write your easy and manageable goals down, so you have the incredible satisfaction of ticking them off!

Eat 5 fruit and vegetables per day

Maintaining a healthy diet throughout the winter will provide you with lots of vitamins and minerals for a strong immune system and plenty of energy. Aiming to be eating at least 5 fruit and vegetables per day is a great first step to healthy eating. Most research institutes, including the National Health Service, recommend that you eat at least 5 fruit and vegetables per day to improve your overall health. Make sure at least 3 of these are vegetables, as fruit can be high in sugar. For some recipes for triathletes, see our nutrition guide here.

Warm up indoors

Where possible, we recommend swapping your outdoor sessions for indoor sessions as much as possible. However, sometimes the outdoor sessions are more convenient or unavoidable.

If you are planning on doing a run or cycle outdoors, warming up indoors means that you are already relatively warm before you get outside to the cold. This is much better for your muscles, as well as making the workout more bearable.

Before you head outside for your next morning workout, we recommend this easy-to-complete cardio warm up…

  • Star jumps (30 seconds)
  • Squats (30 seconds)
  • Inchworms (30 seconds)
  • Butt kicks (30 seconds)
  • Mountain climbers (30 seconds)
  • Alternating side lunges (30 seconds)
  • Burpees (30 seconds)

Complete this sequence twice with a 30-second rest, for a total warm-up time of 7 and a half minutes.

The colder months are hard, but with these top tips, we hope you find the motivation to reach new limits in the off-season, and enter the 2019 season race ready!