With spring almost here, it gives us a perfect opportunity to reflect on the winter and how to stay motivated. For a lot of people, the winter months in Canada (and elsewhere) is a tough time to train. With temperatures easily plummeting below -30 degrees Celsius, and the limited daylight hours of sunlight, even the most focused, determined athlete among us will find training to be daunting at times. So, what can you do?
There is no special potion or spell you can chant in the morning to fix everything, but here are some suggestions that athletes from the Verdun Dragon Boat Club use when it’s all too tempting to curl up and watch Netflix instead of train 😉
Thrive for a challenge and turn everything into a game
Training has as much to do about your Mental strength and endurance as it does with your physical prowess. So, if Mother Nature throws you a ton of snow, then make snow angels, forts, go skiing, snowshoeing etc. with friends and family. Here’s a tip: use the winter months as your mental training! It’s going to be tough, maybe as tough as it will be on race day, but if you can turn whatever is sent your way into a game and have fun with it, then you are that much further ahead of everyone else. In time, you will conquer everything that Mother Nature sends your way and laugh in the face of snow, ice, and training in the pitch dark… as it’s just another day to have fun and train hard.
Set a target objective: Long-term goals will keep you focused!
Training in the winter with no set goal or target to train against is like sailing around the world with no destination in mind. No wind will be favourable, and as you mindlessly move about doing the motions, you will never get anywhere. Without a goal, you won’t be particularly eager to do any training, and you will find yourself in the same position as you were at the beginning of the winter.
Don’t just challenge yourself – help others reach their goal!
One of our mottos at Verdun is “We lift our paddlers up” and it is paramount/the guiding principle in the way we train. We love to compete, to push each other beyond our own limits at practice, and what we love even more is helping each other reach their objective. Either it is nailing that first pull-up, shaving 2 seconds off their 1000m row, or simply helping them get more active, it brings you great joy seeing those around you improve and hit their goals. All in all, a great motivator.
Be colourful! From adding additional colours to your daily wardrobe, to painting your face in multiple of colours (ok maybe not) as a way to fight off the winter blues (and blahs) and the grey drabby environment outside. Or better yet, sport a mini Parasol, put on some beach ambient music, and pretend you are basking in the heat. Once a week, or as needed should suffice. With the extra Vitamin D and bringing summer wherever you go, it will definitely increase your energy levels and determination to tackle any fitness goals you have in mind. Not to mention, help boost your teammates’ motivation as well.
Weekend adventure to break up the routine
No matter how self-motivated you are and determined to reach your goal, an occasional change of pace or scenery will help you stay on the right track. Why not go for a winter hike, snowshoe or go skiing in place of a cardio session? It will refocus you and force you to use your muscles in a different way and at the same time, you get to show off the progress you have made in the real world. For outdoor activities, the SEPAQ monthly newsletter is a great way to see what is happening in the provincial parks.
What do you do to stay motivated? Let us know!