Learning to be flexible and to change things up is the key to staying motivated.
Work on technique
“A lot of times, when you're training for a race, there isn't as much time to step back and work on technique,” says running coach Nick White, from trainright.com. “The offseason is a great time to hire a coach or sign up for a weekend clinic on how to improve your running technique to increase your efficiency. Nearly everyone has a few small changes that could be made to their form, that will net big improvements in speed.”
Join a running club
There's nothing like the power of peer pressure to keep you going through the winter months. It's more social, fun and a great way to monitor your progress and gauge how you're doing against other runners. “Joining a structured routine let's you off having to follow your own program,” says White.
Click here for 8 essential running form drills!
Do a crazy challenge
“I need to have something out there in the diary to keep me going,” says triathlon coach and ex-pro Richard Hobson. “Set up a silly challenge. Last year I did the ’30:30’. You have to run 30 minutes every day for 30 days. It’s not long but it’s amazing how you struggle when it’s dark and cold, and doing something like this gets you out the door.”
Patrick Sweeney onroute across America. © Patrick Sweeney
Don’t run to run
“Engage yourself in other activities while running,” says Patrick Sweeney, who probably knows quite a lot about motivation after recently running 5,000 km across America. “I live at the beach and I enjoy counting the different species of birds that I see, scanning the ocean for whales and dolphins and collecting discarded beach toys along the way.
Running provides so much opportunity to find the simple joys in life. Don't think of it as a run, think of it as an adventure.”
Mix it up with some cross-training
“Running is a great mode of exercise, but it's not a perfectly well-rounded exercise program in and of itself. Using your off-season to add other forms of exercise is a great way to remind your body that it can do more than just run,” says White.
He suggests taking up other ball, racket or outdoor sports like rock climbing to keep you active and fit while giving you a break from running. “Core work and weight training is a good thing to work on as well,” he adds.
Gediminas Grinius is also an advocate of night running. © Gediminus Grinius
Ask yourself this:
“Do you want to lose your fitness, which you worked on for the last six months,” Suunto ambassador Gediminas Grinius recommends asking yourself. “Do you want your neighbor to be faster? Do you want to gain weight? If you answer no, then your only option is to keep running.”
Read the 4 myths about ultra-running you need to know
Run early (if you live in the city)
“Weekend morning runs are great for aromas,” says Sweeney. “I’m vegan but I enjoy running around town taking in all the smells of bacon and eggs being cooked. Every block is full of new aromas to enjoy.” And what better way to finish your run than in a bakery?
Go trail running
“Most runners do their training on treadmills, roads, sidewalks, and bike paths,” says White. “There are many benefits to running on trails; better balance development, stability muscles get a workout that they don't get on flat pavement, there are often more hills to develop strength, softer surfaces usually that are easier on your muscles and joints. And those don't even mention the fact that trails often provide much better scenery!”
Work on a weakness
If you're a marathon runner, and spend most of your time doing longer runs at lower intensity, the off-season is a great time to work on your speed, strength, and power. “Hill repeats and track intervals can be a great way to do something different, while still improving your running,” says Trainright’s Nick White. “Or if you're a 5k runner and did a lot of speedwork but not a lot of volume, the off-season can be a good time to back off a bit and do some higher mileage to improve your aerobic base.”
Don’t think: just hit play
Don’t spend ages debating with yourself whether to go for a run or not as chances are, you’ll only talk yourself out of it. Just grab your mp3 player or phone and hit play on that motivational track that works for you. Works every time.
What are your tips running when you don’t feel like it? Let us know via our social channels with the hashtag #suuntorun