I don’t know about you, but recently my warm bed has been calling me (loudly) each chilly, dark morning as my alarm goes.
There’s no denying it’s tough to stay fuelled in winter, but over the years I’ve realised the key to maintaining your motivation in winter comes down to:
1. Goal setting
1. Goal Setting: Setting yourself macro and micro goals can enhance your motivation and enjoyment of the sport. You may set a goal for the upcoming season or first race; but then set
smaller goals. Maybe it will be to PB your 20km Time Trial, focus on your swimming or running technique, or achieve a set mileage for the week.
2. Consistency: “Consistency is key”. It may sound cliche, but it’s true. Setting realistic goals, and maintaining consistency is better than going out hard for the first month, and dropping off for the end of winter. Focus on feeling good (with technique and power or speed), building your fitness, and practicing nutrition strategies. The off season is a great time to trial new training foods, race day foods, and sports drinks.
3. Nutrition: Being aware of what you’re eating, both around training and throughout the day will reap rewards. With cooler weather, our immune system works harder to fight off flus, bugs and
illnesses flying around. Training compromises our immune system with exercise-induced stress. Including colour in all your meals (fruits and vegetables) with protein (lean meats, fish, eggs,
legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds, cheese, milk and yoghurt) and iron and zinc rich foods (nuts, seeds, peanut butter, eggs, red meats) is helpful in managing and reducing this stress, meaning we
can stay strong, healthy and train harder. These foods contain helpful properties for recovery nutrition too (protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats).
4. Sleep: We all want more of it, and there’s a good reason for it. Sleep is our recovery time machine. It’s the longest period of time where our body can rest, repair and reset. If you’re like
me, you probably always try to get to bed in time for your 8 hours, but then end up getting distracted by the TV, scrolling through socials, or getting your 5 bags ready for the day ahead.
Try some of these tips to maximise your shut eye – stress-free:
- Aim to get to bed 9 hours before your morning alarm: this gives you time to settle in bed and be able to fall asleep in time to get 8 hours of quality sleep
- Night-shift mode: Dim or turn off most lights in your house and turn on night mode on your phone (reduces blue light): this reduces stimulation to your eyes, enhancing increases in melatonin to help fall asleep
- Challenge yourself to put away electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed. I like to read before I fall asleep to help shut off my brain and relax; or practice mindfulness to fall asleep (I like the Smiling Mind app)
(AG AUS Triathlete & Accredited Practising Dietitian at SportsDietitian.com)