It is that time of year again when the temperature has dropped and the dark morning and short days have hit us all hard! It can be hard to get yourself motivated when there is a warm cosy sofa at home but it is important not only to stay fit and not undo all your hard work over the summer but to keep your mind healthy during the winter period and running is a great way to do this.

We have all suffered some form of the ‘winter blues‘ but it is said that 1 in 15 people in the UK suffer from Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression which can be particularly severe during December, January and February.

[toggle title=”What is seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?” state=”open”]Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that people experience at a particular time of year or during a particular season. It is a recognised mental health disorder. Most of us are affected by the change in seasons – it is normal to feel more cheerful and energetic when the sun is shining and the days are longer, or to find that you eat more or sleep longer in winter. However, if you experience SAD, the change in seasons will have a much greater effect on your mood and energy levels, and lead to symptoms of depression that may have a significant impact on your day-to-day life.

For more information and some tips to help you cope with SAD visit Mind.org.uk HERE[/toggle]

We asked Jana Krajhanzlova, Personal trainer and running addict how she keeps motivated in the winter months and wanted to share her tips with you! 

We all know the feelings. The alarm goes off, you look outside the window and there it is, the dark, cold weather. Then, you think, should I stay in that cosy warm bed? I could run after work or even at lunch time. It is too cold and too dark out there anyway.

So how do we stay motivated in such a “difficult” situation?

A self-pep talk! Your positive thoughts need to beat the negative ones! Okay, that sounds great, and somewhat obvious, but how do you do that?

Every time remind yourself why you want to run. Does that make you feel better? Yes! Is your day much nicer when you are done? Yes! Are you closer to your goals every time you reach the finish line? Yes! That is what matters.

It is easy to go outside when it is sunny and warm, everyone wants to run then, even the people who are not runners. The parks are all green, everyone around is happy and smiling.

But what about when the winter is here and you get just cold, stiff and sometimes wet. What should you tell yourself in your pep-talk? First, the benefits of running are truly incredible, no matter the weather. Running is an amazing mental healer. No matter what you have on your mind. No matter what is bothering or worrying you. When you jog, run or even sprint, you forget about all that. The fresh air and the movement works like magic. You can clear your head and you will see things from a much better perspective. So, it is good for your mental health. And the rest? Well, you’re going to burn about 500-700 kcal per hour which is quite good, don’t you think?…

Don’t let injuries come your way. Here are few very easy steps you need to take to prevent injury in the winter weather. First warm up! Do not jump into a run without warming up your muscles and stretching your body out. Take 5 minutes, at least, of no longer. It makes a huge difference. Afterwards, cool down and take a pot-run stretch. Luck of stretching, warm up and cool down is where all the complaints of injury come from. When I hear people complaining about damaged knees, shin splints and all that, I ask them if they took these steps. The answer is “well, no not really.” I mean seriously? Think about it, you can get injured from every single sport, from every single physical activity you do. Am I right? And how about diet? Do you eat right? And do you eat enough, so you have all your energy and can give it all?

Next time when that alarm goes off, have our self-pep talk ready and do not let the winter blues let you miss your run.