So you’ve been training for a little while and want to start entering CrossFit competitions. Maybe you’ve even already done a comp or two. You’ve identified the skills you need to practice, found yourself a training plan to follow and booked yourself in for some regular sports massage. But have you thought about how to prepare mentally?

The athletes who often do the best in CrossFit competitions are those who can keep focused, can psyche themselves up when needed, switch off when not, and stay resilient in the face of adversity. All of this takes practice. And I’m going to give you some tips and tricks.

Managing Arousal

Arousal refers to how alert you are and it’s important in regulating consciousness, attention, and information processing. This is all controlled through changes in levels of specific hormones, including adrenaline, histamine and seratonin. There are lots of ways arousal is increased naturally, for example where feeling threatened kicks off the flight or fight response – getting cut up on the road can make you so angry that your pulse raises and you start to shake. 

A certain amount of arousal is good for performance – it primes the body for action and can focus concentration. But too much, or too little, could turn your competition on its head.

The key to managing arousal lies in identifying your optimum level, and using prompts to help you raise or lower it as required.

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Arousal Prompts

There are four key prompts for raising and lowering arousal levels, and which is best depends on what you most respond to in general, e.g. how you learn:

  • Visual (spatial): try using imagery. Picture yourself winning an event, performing a particular skill, etc. The point is to make your visualisation as realistic and detailed as possible so it becomes experiential with the hope of “re-living” it when the time comes.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): music is your best friend. Choose music with a tempo that gets you ready for action, but not so pumped that you’re over stimulated. The subject of music in sport psychology has been extremely well researched so it’s worth looking into!
  • Verbal (linguistic): try slogan clothing or wrist bands, or repeating a short motivational phrase to yourself before and during competition. Music can also be good for verbal motivation. For example, UFC fighter Miesha Tate’s walk on music is Katy Perry’s “Tiger” – this may seem like a strange choice, but the lyrics say it all:

“I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter,

Dancing through the fire,

‘Cause I am the champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar,

Louder, louder than a lion,

‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar!” 

  • Physical (kinesthetic): try having a pre-competition stimulating massage – ideally in the minutes directly before the event – using warm up drills that mimic the movements and intention of the exercise(s) you’re about to do (e.g. using the same aggression on an empty bar warm-up as you would in a heavy version of the lift) or stomping your feet/slapping your legs before stepping up to the plate.

Identifying Optimal Arousal

The optimum level of arousal is like gold dust. Get it right and you could line yourself up for a PB performance. But knowing where that point is can be hard and it’s easy to let yourself worry and become anxious before a performance. Nerves are not necessarily bad; a certain amount of nervous energy actually leads to increased arousal, which I’ve already said can link to better performance.

Finding the point at which you can perform well before hitting that tipping point can only really be done through trial and error. Choose a practice event in the lead up to your main competition to gauge how you perform and what strategies work for you.

Identify that point where you can focus and push the nerves aside.

Coming Back Down

For competitions with multiple events, it’s just as important to be able to “switch off” and come back down to a state where you can relax, take stock of where you are and recover for the next event as it is to get psyched up for the event in the first place. If you ever watch the CrossFit Games, the most successful athletes are those who can turn their drive on and off and put the last performance behind them, ready to focus on the next one.

The same processes can be used to reduce arousal as those that increase it – just choose more calming versions of the same prompts!

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Facing Adversity

Not everything is necessarily going to go your way in competition. Whether it’s a judge who seems particularly harsh, or missing movements that you usually hit in practice. The athletes who will succeed are those who can pause and correct whatever it is that’s going wrong. Here are some tips for how to do just that.

Movement Standards

Judge keep shouting no rep? Guess what, it’s not their fault. Even if you think you’re achieving the movement standards, calmly ask your judge what you need to do then fix it. This could mean exaggerating the movement a bit. If you get angry or frustrated it’s not going to help you, and it’s probably just going to piss your judge off – which definitely isn’t going to help!

As the CrossFit posters say – leave your ego at the door.

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Failed Lifts

Know you can hit a 60kg snatch but keep failing over and over again? Step back, analyse your movement patterns and identify what you’re doing wrong. Not keeping your shoulders over the bar? You’ll struggle to keep that bar moving in an efficient path. Not getting your hips to full extension? You’ll limit power on the pull. Create that body awareness of what a good lift feels like and you’ll be able to identify, and correct, inefficiencies that much more easily.

The same applies to all movements, not just the lifts. Safety, efficiency and effectiveness of movement are key.

Practice Makes Perfect

As with everything we do in life, the more we do it, the better we are likely to get at it. No-one was perfect the first time they did a movement. Everyone has to learn the basics and build from them – even your top level Games athletes. 

But, as calisthenics star Stephen Hughes-Landers says, when it comes to movements – perfect practice makes perfect. We probably all know an athlete who is brilliant in training but falls apart in competition. Sometimes this is down to nerves, but probably 9 times out of 10 it’s because they aren’t hitting the movement standards in training.

“No rep” yourself. Learn the feeling of full range of motion. If you can’t get there? Work on mobility and getting those weaknesses strengthened. Train like you’re being judged!

Do you take part in CrossFit competitions? What are your tips for success? Comment below – I’d love to know what you think!

Photos taken at an in-house competition at CrossFit Raeda.

A few weeks ago I headed over to Third Space Canary Wharf (formerly the Reebok Sports Club) to attend quite possibly the most exciting #GirlGains event yet. The event, powered by Protein Pow, was centred around body confidence, self-love and empowerment and oh my word did it deliver. I came away armed with tools to learn to accept and appreciate myself more and, as a bonus, some tricks for how to make the most delicious protein bars!

If you want to know more about the #GirlPow event and learn some brilliant take-away tips on how to love yourself (in a totally non-arrogant way!), keep an eye on my Twitter and Facebook pages for a blog post on that in the very near future.

But, for now…

What Is The #GirlGains?

#GirlGains started out as a hashtag on social media, used to connect women who share a love of health, fitness and nutrition. Women would use the hashtag on their social posts, primarily on Instagram, but also on Facebook and Twitter. From there the community grew exponentially and the girls who started it decided to take the movement one step further and launched their first event.

Now with monthly events, ranging from intimate gatherings to larger events with over 100 attendees, the #GirlGains name is making gains of its own, being snapped up for partnerships with huge brands such as Reebok, Wheyhey, VitaCoco, Misfit and Active in Style.

While the main focus remains to be encouraging and inspiring women to be healthy and active, the #GirlGains movement also aims to challenge issues around body confidence and self-esteem to bring women the potential for increased happiness, positivity, self-low, confidence and ambition. Sounds good huh?!

Who Are The #GirlGains?

I grabbed a few minutes with the girls after the #GirlPow event to play a special #GirlGains edition of the Mr & Mrs paddle round to get to know them a bit better, but before that, here’s a little about each of them and why they put their time and energy into forging the #GirlGains community.

Zanna

Zanna Van Dijk - GirlGains

Photo from the #GirlGains website

At 23 years old, Zanna has already achieved so much in the fitness industry, and in life in general. A first class honours graduate, Zanna was about to embark on a masters in sports nutrition when London took hold of her and she turned her life upside down to progress, instead, with a career as a personal trainer, fitness model and blogger/vlogger.

The 6ft 2” Dutch beauty first got into fitness at university, transforming from super slim but unfit to a strong, athletic physique. Zanna always says she hasn’t gone through a dramatic transformation, but I beg to differ – packing on muscle to long, lean limbs when you’re naturally an ectomorph is no mean feat, and the before and after photos speak for themselves.

Zanna has learned the hard way, through trial and error, what works for her, and she shares her experience and advice through her extremely successful social media channels and blog.

Follow Zanna on Instagram ¦ Twitter ¦ Facebook ¦ YouTube

Tally

Tally Rye - GirlGains

Photo from the #GirlGains website

The oldest member of the #GirlGains, Tally, 25, comes from a background of musical theatre. Discovering fitness and nutrition first as an aid to her musical theatre training, Tally soon found a passion for helping people lead a healthy lifestyle and decided to pursue that as a career instead. Her very successful Secret HIIT Club classes help her reach a bigger audience, sharing that enthusiasm to train with as many people as possible.

Tally went from an overweight teen to a macro-obsessed social-phobe, but, with the help of friends, soon found a balance and now appreciates more than ever the importance of being healthy in mind as well as body. She kicks ass in the gym every day, sharing her workouts and healthy food creations on Instagram and snapchat.

Quite possibly one of the most bubbly and enthusiastic people I’ve met, Tally is truly passionate about helping women become fitter, more confident and healthy.

Follow Tally on Instagram ¦ Twitter ¦ Facebook ¦ YouTube

Vic

Victoria Spence - GirlGains

Photo from the #GirlGains website

Mancunian Vic is the youngest of the group, but definitely doesn’t shy away. With a strong athletic history throughout her childhood she eventually settled into dance and went to a specialist college to train professionally as a commercial dancer. It was here that Vic developed anorexia nervosa, after pressures to achieve perfection along with an ingrained judgement of her own body became too much. She ran 10k daily, alongside her intensive dance training, to “make up” for the little food she was allowing herself, before eventually being forced to take time away from college to recover.

After 6 months of battling, Vic came to the realisation that she was going to have to overcome her eating disorder, or risk her life trying to chase the ever-moving goal post of perfection.

Vic now leads a healthy lifestyle of sensible training and nutrition, and even competes in bikini competitions, placing 1st in regional qualifiers, and 5th in the British finals. Aside from competing, Vic works as a personal trainer, motivating and inspiring women to achieve their goals in a sustainable and healthy way.

Follow Vic on Instagram ¦ Twitter ¦ YouTube

#GirlGains Mr & Mrs

Watch our fun video of the special #GirlGains edition of the Mr & Mrs paddle round. I promised to donate £2 for every correctly matched answer to the charity supported by the girls’ latest event, b-eat. See how many answers they matched on, and find out some of the more obscure facts about the girls, by watching the video below:

Thanks to Anna Sward from Protein Pow for the fab drawings of the girls, which I stuck onto homemade paddles for the game!

Keeping Up with The #GirlGains

If you want to be the latest to hear about #GirlGains events, make sure you follow the girls on their social media channels. The #GirlGains also has its own social media channels, which you can find below, as well as the website to look through past events and learn more about the girls. But if all else fails, just search #GirlGains on social media!

This was my first event – I’d met Zanna and Tally before at other blog events and supper clubs, etc. but even then, you’ll always feel welcome and like you’ve known them for ages the minute you step into one of their events.

I hope the girls continue to spread the positive messages they’re spreading, and I hope to be a part of some of their future events too!

#GirlGains social links:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thegirlgains/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thegirlgains

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thegirlgains/?fref=ts

Have you been to a #GirlGains event? What did you take away from it?

If you enjoy the video, please subscribe to my channel – I hope to have more and more video content going up there for you!

Working out with a friend is a great way to keep you motivated – in fact training with a buddy can increase your chances of sticking to an exercise program. So not only is it a good excuse for a catch up with your pals, it’s also likely to make you a longer-term fitness fanatic! But, sometimes it can be boring to do the same old workouts, so why not mix things up with a series of partner exercises you can do together?!

I’ve knocked up four exercises you can do with a friend, or even in a small group, to really get you working hard and having fun. But before I explain the moves, let’s decide on how you’re going to do the workout.

The Format

This workout is especially fun and challenging because it involves one partner holding a static (still) position, while the other performs dynamic (moving) exercises.

Fun because the friend holding the static move gets to watch their mate jump around like a lunatic, and challenging because the static moves work muscles isometrically, or in a fixed position – something which people rarely do in training. By training muscles isometrically you are recruiting more motor units, making the muscle more efficient, and you can also challenge sticking points you may have in a particular range of motion.

Holding a static position can build more strength AND sort out those sticking points in an exercise... Click To Tweet

There are two main ways to break up the work:

  1. The static partner holds the exercise for a certain amount of time, e.g. 30, 45 or 60 seconds – this is good if you’re of very different levels of fitness as each partner can work as hard as they like during the dynamic phase.
  2. The static partner holds the exercise until the dynamic partner has completed a certain number of reps, e.g. 15, 20, 25 – this is good if you’re of fairly equal fitness level.

Rest for about half your interval period between exercises, and then for 60-90 seconds between circuits. Perform the circuit at least once per participant, so each of you has a chance to do the static moves!

The Exercises

A combination of lower body and core exercises, including plyometrics, all three planes of motion and, of course, those static holds – these are great moves to work your legs, butt, stomach and back – perfect if you’re a runner, but also great for general strength and power.

Use this fun partner workout for strength and power - it could even make you a better runner!… Click To Tweet

Make sure you’ve warmed up properly before doing these exercises, and if you experience any pain (other than the usual muscle burn from exercising, of course!) then ease off.

Wall Sit vs Squat 

Partner Exercises - Workout With a Friend - Wall Sit and Squat

Partner A

  • Stand with your back to a wall and squat down to a position where your hip crease is just below the level of your knees (or to a point where you particularly struggle with squats to build strength in that range of motion)

Partner B

  • Stand with your feet in a comfortable squat position (at least hip-width but probably wider) and squat down as far as your range of motion allows while trying to maintain a high chest.
  • Push through your heels to return to standing and repeat until the time is up or you’ve completed your reps (see “the format”!)
  • To make this more challenging, explode up from the bottom of the squat to a jump and then sink straight back into a squat when you land.

Plank vs Slalom Jumps

Partner Exercises - Workout With a Friend - Plank and Slalom Jumps

Partner A

  • Hold a plank position, keeping your shoulders stacked above your elbows, and making sure you maintain a straight line from your toes to your shoulders (no butt-sag please!). If this is too challenging, drop down to your knees but keep that butt in line!

Partner B

  • Standing side on to your partner at their mid-line, hop sideways over them, landing gently on your toes on the other side.
  • Hop back to the start and repeat until the time is up or you’ve completed your reps (see “the format”!)

Glute Bridge vs Lunges

Partner Exercises - Workout With a Friend - Glute Bridge and Lunges

Partner A

  • Lie on the floor with your feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart.
  • Squeeze your bum and push your hips up to the sky. Hold.
  • To make this more challenging you can cross your arms across your chest, or hold one leg out, keeping your thighs parallel.

Partner B

  • Starting in a standing position, take a big step forwards and lunge down until your back knee lightly touches the floor.
  • Push back up through your front heel, keeping your whole foot in contact with the floor and repeat on the other side.
  • Keep alternating legs until the time is up or you’ve completed your reps (see “the format”!)
  • To make this more challenging, explode up from the bottom of the lunge and switch legs to land and sink straight into a lunge on the other side.

Side Plan vs Knee to Elbow

Partner Exercises - Workout With a Friend - Side Plank and Knee to Elbow

Partner A

  • Hold a side plank, keeping your shoulder stacked over your hand and a straight line from your head to your toes.
  • You can do this on an outstretched arm (pictured) or on your elbow, and to make this harder just lift your top leg and top arm into a star position.

Partner B

  • From standing, lift your opposite leg to your elbow, crunching in at the waist to really challenge your abs. Repeat on the other side.
  • Keep alternating arms and legs until the time is up or you’ve completed your reps (see “the format”!)
  • To make this harder, jump to switch arms and legs – this will really challenge your balance!

Brush off the sweat and get ready to go again!

If you try this workout please do let me know what you think! You can tag me on Instagram using @fitcetera and #ftcworkouts, or get in touch via Twitter (@fitcetera) or Facebook. What exercises do you do with friends? Do you have any partner workouts you’d like to share?

Shop This Post

Georgina is wearing Nike Flex Run Trainers ¦ Nike Power Speed Tights ¦ Nike Tech Fleece Hoody

Charlie (The Runner Beans) is wearing Nike Air Max ¦ Nike Legendary Fabric Twist Veneer Tights ¦ Nike Aeroreact Pullover

Credits

Photos by Will Patrick, taken at Equinox Kensington.

Apparently 32% of us in the UK were expected to have made New Years’ resolutions for 2016, yet only about 12% of people successfully kept 2015’s resolutions, and most are likely to have given up within the first month. The gyms may be packed now, but they’re likely to be empty again by February. If you don’t want to be just a statistic, then it’s time to look at how to keep your New Years’ resolutions.

So just how do you make, and keep, New Years’ resolutions that will actually work for you?

I’m halfway through a Sport and Exercise Psychology course, and one of the most interesting topics so far has been adherence to exercise. Using what I’ve learned, and my own personal experience, I’ve put together my top four tips on how to make New Years’ resolutions that you can stick to, and actually benefit from.

Before you think this is going to be another SMART goals post… I promise it’s not! There are plenty of good posts out there telling you how to write SMART goals – and you’ve probably tried them all – so if you want to try something a bit different, keep reading.

1.      Make Process Goals

Focus on the Process, Not the Outcome

Focus on the Process, Not the Outcome ¦ Photo credit, Reading Half Marathon

One of the top New Years’ resolutions people make is to lose weight. But, this is an outcome goal (what you want to achieve) rather than a process goal (how you plan to get there).

And get this… research suggests that 66% of people who set process goals are still adhering 6 months later, compared to only 44% of people who set outcome goals.

Struggling to stick to your goals? Change them to process goals to boost motivation! Click To Tweet

Revamp Your Goals

Take the goal of losing weight. Let’s assume you want to lose a lb of fat per week. To do this, you need a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day (3500 calories per week).

If you eat 300 calories less per day, and exercise to burn 200 calories more per day, you already have your 500 calorie deficit.

So, your process goals might be:

  • Eat between 1700-1900 calories per day.
  • Walk 30-40 minutes every week day.

2.      Prompt Yourself

Lay kit out to prompt you to wear it!

Lay kit out to prompt you to wear it!

There’s a reason people say to put your running kit out the night before you plan to do a morning run – it’s a psychological technique to enhance adherence, called a “prompt”.

In one study, placing a sign linking use of stairs to health increased the use of stairs from 69% to 77%, and an email sent out a week later by the employer’s doctor, pointing out the health benefits of stair use, further increased use to 85%.

Keep a slightly messy house to increase your chance of exercising! Yes, really: Click To Tweet

Be Untidy

So, want an excuse not to tidy up? Now you’ve got one! The results above could quite easily carry over to exercise frequency by:

  • placing posters, slogans or notes in prominent places around your house/workplace
  • keeping exercise equipment in visible locations rather than hidden away in cupboards
  • laying out your kit the night before, or leaving your trainers next to the front door
  • recruiting social support from your friends and family to remind you to exercise
  • exercising at the same time and place every day

All of these things will help prompt you, eventually turning your New Years’ resolution into a habit!

3.      Keep a Training Diary

Keep a training diary to help you keep it up.

Keep a training diary to help you keep it up.

Are you recording your efforts to keep active? If not, why not? Research shows that 73% of cardiac rehabilitation patients who kept a training diary were still exercising a year later, compared to 40% of those who didn’t self-monitor.

A training diary can help you stick to your #newyearsresolutions. Here's how: Click To Tweet

Make it Public

Keep a diary to track your workouts, and make this diary public to help even more – if people know their workout record is there for all to see, they are much more likely to work to keep it up. I keep a training diary on my blog, helping to keep me accountable.

If you want an extra challenge or focus, you can also keep your training record in the form of a team challenge or competition. For example, set a challenge to cycle the distance of London to Paris over a period of weeks, or swim the Channel in your local pool. The options are endless!

4.      Record Feedback

Record feedback to monitor your progress

Record feedback to monitor your progress

Positive feedback keeps you going, but studies show that those who receive printed feedback about exercise levels displayed higher levels of adherence than those who received feedback via telephone.

Log your feedback to boost your chances of sticking to an exercise programme: Click To Tweet

Log Your Feedback

Take measurements, (chest, waist, hip measurements, weight, body fat percentage), do strength tests (10RM, or 1RM if you’re experienced) and test your cardiovascular fitness (resting heart rate, exercise heart tae, time to walk/run 5k, number of kilometres cycled in a 10 minute cycle test, etc.).

But most importantly – log the results! You’ll know how far you’ve come and be more likely to stick to your resolutions.

It’s Not Too Late

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Even if motivation has already started to dwindle, or you’ve announced your goals to the world, it’s not too late to put some, or all, of these tips into practice. Revamp your goals, be untidy, make it public and log your feedback – it could just help your New Years’ resolutions become a part of your life!

Have you made any New Years’ resolutions? What are your tips to keep on track? Comment below!

This week was the run up to my hen night. I’m lucky in that my bridesmaids organised so much for me so I didn’t have to do too much, but the prep I did have to do seemed to take over and I didn’t get much else in at all. Along with all of that, I also felt really tired and in need of a rest. Altogether this meant little-to-no exercise.

I can’t help but feel as though I’m turning to excuses far too easily though. Since injury I’ve lost motivation to get up early, favouring a lie in instead, and evening workouts have never really been my thing, unless I’m going with my fiance. Has anyone else found it hard to get back motivated after injury? Accepted the most trivial of excuses?

Week 36: 31st August to 6th September

Monday – Gym 11am. Today was the August Bank Holiday so Darren and I hit the gym together. We worked on chest and tricep exercises, doing:

Chest fly

Dumbbell chest press

Lat pullovers (for the chest stretch)

Incline chest press

Skull crushers

Dips (though I had no strength for these by the end!)

I’ve been enjoying working on specific body areas and training slightly more traditionally for a change – it’s also good to be getting in some varying planes of motion from what I’m used to doing in CrossFit – I’m hoping this will help to protect me from injury going forward.

Do you include conditioning exercises to complement your #crossfit training? Why not?! Click To Tweet

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Tuesday – Rest day. We had a busy evening of wedding planning and jumped straight into that after dinner. I was later to bed than I hoped though – a theme for this week!

Wednesday – Physio 5:30pm. This was my first appointment for a couple of weeks. Joe seemed pleased with my progress, and told me I could step up my training even more, perhaps even adding in some short distance running (up to 400m), which is great news. However, because of my slow (and low frequency) return to CrossFit, there are still some things I haven’t tried out… like box jumps so I’m nervous to try the higher impact work. I’ve never really been this neurotic before! Joe told me to take it one step at a time and only do what I feel comfortable doing. He booked me in for another few weeks’ time.

Thursday – Rest day. I got back late from work after having some bits to finish off and then got ready for doing dinner. It’s Darren’s stag do tomorrow so he spent the evening getting things ready for that.

Friday –  Rest day. I had a half day at work today so that I could do some last minute bits ready for my hen night tomorrow. I did some wedding shopping and then drove to my bridesmaid’s beauty salon to have my nails done for the weekend – one thing I’ve enjoyed about giving up sports massage is the ability to have my nails done! Who said a CrossFit girl can’t have nice nails?! 😉

Saturday – Hen night! Today was my hen night. We left fairly early to get to the train station to get into Stratford for the first part of the day… life drawing! We’d booked a session with Hen and Stag Life Drawing, which was so much fun – we giggled from start to finish as they gave us different challenges to do, including drawing specific body parts, and playing a game of “pin the penis on the drawing”.

Life drawing: a brilliantly different way to celebrate a hen night! Click To Tweet

We then headed into central for lunch at All Bar One, where I was overwhelmed with gifts and party bags full of fluff and games! My friends and family were all so generous.

After lunch was a quick (or not-so-quick!) change and then on to cocktail making at Revolution vodka bar, where we learnt the tricks of making a good cocktail and roared with laughter at games and competitions. A series of shots in a row finished me off temporarily, but then I returned to party and we moved on to Steam and Rye to dance the night away.

I had such a great time with my friends and family, and just want to say a very public THANK YOU to them all, especially my lovely Maid of Honour and Bridesmaid, for making it such an enjoyable day and night!

Sunday – Recovery… waking up with a hangover, we headed to a lovely cafe for breakfast before getting the train home. Arriving home, my fiance and his dad had been busy laying turf in our nearly-finished garden. It was so nice to be home – after two nights away (the longest we’ve spent apart since moving in together nearly 4 years ago) I’d really missed Darren.

Vegetarian breakfast… with bacon.

What have you been up to this week? Have you had a busy week too? If you keep a training diary I’d love to read it – please feel free to link below in the comments!

Mileage Tracker

Weekly Miles: 0 miles

Running Total: 194.8 miles

2015 Fitness Goals Progress

Goal Target/Date Progress
Running Twice per week 14 out of 36 weeks
Inversions Unsupported hand/handstand (end Q1) Can hold unsupported… just need to work on confidence
Pullups 5 strict (end Q2) Allllllmost one strict (nose height!)
Squat Depth Below parallel (end Q4) Air squat 3/4 depth
Clean & Jerk Body weight (end Q4) 60/72.5kg… slowly getting there!
Snatch 2/3 body weight 40/47.5kg

It’s cold and dark. I have every intention of going out for a run, but just heading straight home after work and getting my slippers on seems more inviting. So what do I do? I’ve signed up for Reading Half in just three months’ time, and I can barely even get myself out for a 5k. I’m never going to make it 13.1 miles at this rate. Surely I can’t be the only one who’s struggling to find running motivation?

Luckily, the ladies on the TNR Facebook group (Naturally Leah’s run club community) were there to offer up their advice of how to make it out the door for that run rather than continuing to hide under a blanket. Here are the top 7 tips:

1. Make a “Run-Date”

Making plans with friends is a great way to keep accountable, as you feel you’re letting someone else down if you don’t turn up. Plus it’s much more fun to run with other people and have a chat!

Beki Cadd, aka Miss Wheezy

2. Join a Club

I find it much more fun to run with friends from my tri club than on my own. They also do structured training sessions, which push me harder than if I was just running by myself.

Lucy Edwards, aka Lucy Lunges

3. Change Before You Leave Work

Changing into workout clothes before leaving work means you’re more likely to go out for that run. If you’re already in your workout kit you might as well use it!

Mollie Mollington, aka PT Mollie

4. Be Prepared

If morning running lay EVERYTHING you need out perfectly the night before, even an inside out sock has tempted me back into bed before. If you have enough time, put your kit to warm on radiator before. Cut yourself some slack and think 1 mile is always better than no miles! Focus on how good you’ll feel afterwards.

Rhianon West, aka @rhianonruns

5. Run Commute

I always think of how much nicer my journey home will be outside in the fresh air minus a packed, sweaty train full of people and how good I’ll feel after!

Cara Jane

Running to or from work gives your runs extra purpose. Make friends with 5.30am and shrug off the cold and the rain, it’ll be worth it.

Rebecca Bryant, aka the Style Dynamo

6. Sign up for a Challenge

I’m going to do this Advent Running challenge. You run 25 times in December (between 1-25 December) and there are events and giveaways to make it more fun.

Charlotte Thomas, aka Lunges & Lycra

Sign up for a really, really big challenge in the spring like a crazy race across the desert (Becs is doing the Marathon des Sables next year!).

Rebecca Bryant, aka the Style Dynamo

7. Run For Those Who Can’t

My friend lost her little girl last year so I always think of her and it gets me out. Mantras are great for helping you to run, especially if they are personal to you.

Hayley Glenister, aka Simply Hayley

I suggest a program called ‘I Run 4’ or even RODS Racing, running for a cause leaves you less likely to bail.

Mollie Mollington, aka PT Mollie

How do you stay motivated during the winter season? Please tell me I’m not the only one finding it hard to stay on track?!