Not far off the shortest day now, with less than seven daylight hours it is so easy to slump into that winter lethargy. On top of which the crazy Christmas festivities are upon us, with parties, pantos and pies a plenty. So I have made a pact with myself, I am going to be realistic with what time I have to train, but with that time I am going to be uber efficient.
Registration opens this month for the UTMB (Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc), a trail running festival based in Chamonix with various races distancing from 42km to over 100km. Having not been accepted last year I am crossing all fingers and toes that 2017 will be the lucky year. With this in mind I really want to make each month count training wise, so for December I am cutting the mileage, but increasing the height or speed.
I am going to HIIT the training hard. HIIT High-intensity interval training is a training strategy where you alternate between very intense anaerobic periods of exercise and less intense recovery spells. A 25-30 minute run consisting of 1min sprints to 1minute recovery spells plus warm up and cool down can be very effective.
Strength training is a good alternative for the windy wild days. Squats, push ups and planks are simple but very effective exercises to help improve core strength.
And for those days when motivation is lacking? Something is better than nothing. Just getting out there, even if it is just for a few minutes can be enough to lift the spirits. A little goes a long way.
Here are my top 5 tips for beating the winter lethargy.
1. Set a small goal for yourself. Something achievable but something that come January 1st, you will be proud of. For example, walking a mile a day, or no sugar after 6pm. Whatever it is, it will make any New Year resolutions seem far more achievable if you are already ahead.
2. Eat well. We are bombarded with food adverts in December. December is all about the food, so indulge in this, but make it good food. Make big pans of healthy soup. Experiment with new recipes, but keep it real.... by this I mean non-processed! Processed foods are packed with sugar and hydrogenated fats, these are bad news. By making it yourself you can make sure you are eating the right stuff.
3. Go outside every day. What ever the weather, just dress appropriately.
4. Get sweaty! It doesn't matter how, just get your heart rate up. Whether it is a brisk walk or a spinning class find something you enjoy. I guarantee it will help wake you up in those long dark evenings.
5. Embrace it as we can't change it. There is nothing nicer than getting all cozy after a wild run/walk. I love looking back out at the wild weather, warming by the fire with a cuppa tea. What does not kill us makes us stronger.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!