London 2012 Olympic athlete Ross Murray gives us his tips on remaining motivated over the winter and festive period.

Winter and Christmas Motivation

Winter and Christmas Motivation RunThrough Running Club LondonHo Ho Ho! Or should I say No No No. This is often the thought process that we all have around the Christmas period when it comes to our training and getting our tush out the door.

We are coming off the summer. The bright nights and the warm air have been substituted and replaced by short dark days and wet and wintery conditions.

Let’s face it, the last thing you want to do when you come home after a long day at work is go back out into the cold and go running. You’d much rather stay in, have a cup of tea and watch some trash on the tele.

Not to mention that during the festive period we have a lot of ‘social engagements’ i.e. Christmas parties. I think we can all agree they’re great fun but sometimes you have to say no. You can’t do them all and unfortunately if your work colleagues aren’t sportspeople, they probably won’t understand how important your training is to you. The thought of going home to get a good night’s rest for a race the next day is alien to them.

I’m here to give you some tips about how to stay motivated through the Christmas period and…give you some great excuses to get you out of some Christmas socials when you have a race coming up. BAR HUMBUG!

  1. Find good training partners: It goes without saying that it’s always so much easier to go out training when you are doing it with somebody. It’s more fun and more sociable. This in turn will be make you more likely to WANT to go out and train. In order to do this, you’ll need to be organised. Make that extra effort to commit to running with work colleagues, people at the club or friends who live nearby. As well as it being more fun, you can’t duck out on running when someone is planning to meet you. If it’s just you it’s easy to miss because the only person you’re letting down is you. Nobody wants to let a friend down and that added pressure can be the extra motivation need to…get your tush out the door!
  1. Have a sensible plan: It’s always good to have a plan. Especially around this time of year. There is NO HARM in planning around your social engagements and factoring them into your training program. I.e. planning your day off for the day after your Christmas party. It’s a good idea also to plan your training so that you can train with people too for the above mentioned benefits. All the athletes I’ve coached on the RunThrough coaching program have planned around their lifestyle and they’ve all still found they ran PB’s. Happy athletes run well.
  1. Caffeine Boosts: Caffeine is the only non-banned stimulant that is proven to improve performance. As we know it can be hard to get motivated to go out training after work when you’re tired. Not just physically but mentally too. A well timed coffee/caffeine boost can be the perfect thing to make sure that when you get in, you’re feeling ready to run. I would suggest having one 40-60minutes before you know you’re going to start running. Everyone’s different but have a play around with these timeframes and see what works for you. They even do caffeine gum if you’re not a coffee/tea lover!
  1. Good Excuses: Now please take this next section as a bit of fun. You never know though…you may find yourself in need of one!

As we discussed it can be hard saying no to friends when it comes to getting out of those social engagements. They often wouldn’t accept that you have a race/training the next day as a valid excuse. Here are a few excuses you could use to help you get out of something if you have a race coming up.

“I have a family meal that evening that’s been planned for months” – We all know that family is important and people tend not to try and get in the way of that. By having a fail-safe ‘planned’ excuse like a cousin’s birthday meal, means you can get out of it without much peer pressure.

“I’m feeling really unwell” Now the important thing here is to PRETEND like you’re really up for it leading up to the event. You can’t let on that you’re not up for it. Then all of a sudden when you go into work that day…BOOM. ‘Oh I have a banging head ache or I’ve been feeling really nauseous’. Tell everyone you’ll be fine by the evening and that you’re still really up for going and then when the time comes at 5pm, just say you’re really not feeling well enough and you’re GUTTED. Nobody will ever know!

 “I said I’d babysit little Jonny” Again just stress that this has been booked in for weeks and your friend/family member has asked you to babysit their child. No matter how much they plead with you, they couldn’t get you to abandon a child for their night out! It’s illegal surely?

I hope these excuses help and they come in handy…should you need them!

Winter and Christmas Motivation RunThrough Running Club London



So there’s my Christmas motivation tips! I hope they help and if you need anything then drop me a line on twitter @rosscojammin. If you’re feeling like you need even more help then join the RunThrough coaching program where you can get tailored coaching programs from me! Good luck.