Some people love cold weather sports, but not everyone does. Keep up your exercise routine and motivation even when Nature gives you the cold shoulder.
It’s official. Nature has left me. Again. At least Warm-weather Nature has left me. Cold-weather Nature has settled in and is looking smug about the whole thing. As another chapter closes in my on-again/off-again relationship with Warm-weather Nature, I sadly turn to my bike trainer until she returns.
I don’t do any winter sports for personal reasons, so this is the toughest time of year for me. The majority of my exercise comes from cycling, and each year, as Nature’s shoulder becomes colder, I transition from outside on the dirt and asphalt to inside on my trainer. As the temperatures drop, so does my motivation. Getting on the trainer is like exercise prison, I don’t go anywhere, and I am acutely aware of the passing of time as I stare at a wall for 45–60 minutes. Finding the motivation is the hardest part, but I do have a few things that help, and I decided to share what I have figured out so far.
When I don’t feel like exercising, one of the first things I do is go online and look at things Nature and I did together. Social media is great inspiration. Looking at pictures and videos on blogs or Instagram accounts of previous rides and destinations is good inspiration and helps me want to pedal. If I stay in shape, I know I’ll be able to hit the ground rolling when Warm Nature comes back.
Once I am actually on the trainer, I listen to podcasts to fight the boredom of not going anywhere. Music can too easily become background noise and then I am just stuck staring at the wall, waiting for the song to end so I can check the clock. Podcasts work better for me as they engage my mind and force me to pay attention to the content and not the lack of scenery. Some people try movies or TV shows, but that hasn’t worked for me. Actually I only tried it once, spent two hours straight watching The Hurt Locker. Let’s just say it was really painful, and I haven’t turned to TV or movies since.
Finally, having the next trip on the schedule is key. Of course I am planning to run into Nature, but I can make it look like we randomly bumped into each other. Where I live, we get snow, so I plan a couple of trips south to get me through the winter, especially in January and February when the cabin fever has really set in. The next event keeps me pedaling.
Also, a useful metaphor is The Bank. Training is the fitness equivalent to putting money in the bank. The more consistently I ride now the easier and less painful it will be to get back to desired fitness levels in the spring. Nature will come back, and I want to be ready. This makes the planned rides less painful and more fun. As you transition from outside to the trainer or the treadmill, what do you do to stay motivated?