It’s that time of year again when it’s chilly outside and race season seems far off in the distance. Off-season has officially arrived. It’s the time when motivation dips and you can’t seem to get into your usual training groove. It seems like just about everybody can find an excuse to get out of a workout these days. We’ve all done it—and we all regret it.
To avoid the excuses from the start, set yourself up for success by working with a coach to develop a custom training plan just for you. Having a plan, even in these low months can be extremely motivating. Take the time to learn from your coach, ask questions to help you understand why certain workouts are incorporated into your schedule, and the purpose of each in your overall goals for the year. Knowing how that particular workout affects the others and what role it plays in ultimately meeting your goals is a huge motivator in and of itself.
For the times when that’s not enough and you still find yourself offering excuses, well now’s the time to start anticipating them and crafting your plan of attack. Here are some common off-season training excuses and solutions to get you back out there:
Excuse: I had a bad day at the office and I’m mentally and physically drained.
Solution: Move your workouts to early mornings. Not only will the cool air feel good, but now you will feel energized the rest of the day and have the evening to relax and prepare for your next workout.
Excuse: I have to watch my kids.
Solution: Investing in a running stroller, putting your bike on the trainer at home, or having the kids help keep your splits at the track are all great ways to get the family involved in your training. The kids will have a great time helping keep you on pace.
Excuse: I get injured when I workout. What’s the point?
Solution: First off, talk to your doctor to make sure you are clear to run before you start your comeback. Then, right away have your running form analyzed by a professional to make sure you are wearing the proper shoes. A number of running related pains and injuries are a direct result of running in the wrong shoes. Also be sure to incorporate cross training and strength conditioning to build a strong core and lower body strength.
Excuse: It’s too dark before and after work to train.
Solution: Get some more gear! There are great headlamps out on the market right now with progressive lighting that are powerful and lightweight. Invest in a reflective vest and warm, layered clothing to be sure you’re seen out there on the dark road and you’re toasty while you’re doing it.
Excuse: I’m too tired.
Solution: You likely need more sleep. Go to bed early. Give yourself time to relax in the evenings before going to bed to help ensure a better night’s rest. Shut off the electronics an hour before bedtime, read a book and drink some chamomile tea. Sleep is a valuable, and often overlooked, aspect of recovery.
Excuse: It’s too cold.
Solution: It very well may be cold out there. But that’s just another reason to dress for your workout. People train in all types of weather just fine using some smart preparation before they head out the door. And once you start moving the cold air usually starts to feel good. If it’s truly too cold outside, then simply head indoors. These indoor training workouts are great ways to stay on top of your fitness no matter what it looks like outside.
Don’t worry if you fall victim to one or two of these excuses during the off season. It happens to us all. Now is the best time to set yourself up mentally for a strong year and if hitting the snooze button once or twice helps, think of it as your reward for the amazing season you are starting to dream about.