Most people are susceptible to that same well-known cycle: periods of time where your training goes really well and you see awesome improvements in your fitness, followed by times when training falls way down your list of priorities and you slowly lose that progress you worked so hard for.
If you think about how your training ebbs and flows, the chances are those periods of time where you train the hardest are in the build up to some sort of event – often a holiday, party, or wedding you want to get in shape for, or simply knowing that summer’s round the corner and you want to look your best when you’re stripping off.
The best way to keep that motivation up throughout the winter is to set targets for spring, leaving you no choice but to continue training throughout those difficult months. Find a running event, triathlon, or even an amateur weightlifting / crossfit competition, depending on what your goals are. Sign up for it, pay for it, and put it in your calendar. A fixed date for an event will help you stay focused, and keep you training on a regular schedule.
It’s a great feeling knowing you have a challenge to aim for, and it gives you an amazing sense of pride once you complete it. The added incentive to train is incredibly effective, and if you are raising money for charity, it’s even easier to stay committed.
Try sticking to these guidelines for success:
Don’t overshoot at first. For example, if you have recently taken up running, sign up to a 5k run rather than a marathon
Sign up for several events throughout the season. Stagger these so they either build up gradually in length, or try and improve your time / performance – this way you keep pushing yourself and continue making progress
Sign up to an event with a friend / group. This makes it a little less daunting if you haven’t raced before, plus training together has loads of benefits!