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Paul Addicott Guest Post: Staying Motivated During The Winter Months
Paul Addicott runs all distances from 5k to 100k, and is a regular pacer for events such as London Marathon,  Berlin Marathon, Chicago Marathon and more.
It can be hard to stay motivated at this time of year. The initial New Year fitness buzz has passed, and now the official winter has ended, the real cold and wet months start. As if it's not hard enough to stay motivated to get fit, without the weather putting you off more. If you have missed a run or two, and it feels a real challenge to get out the door, don't worry, you aren't alone. Here are just a few things that may help.
Paul crossing the finish line.
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Book an event
Having something to work towards will keep you motivated. Lots of spring races are coming up, so put your winter training to the test and give yourself a challenge. 
Set yourself targets
Having a goal race is a great way to get you out, but this isn't for everyone, and you may not feel ready. Or if you race a lot this may not be enough to get you out. Set yourself mini goals and make them achievable, look for small gains. This way you will keep going out to achieve them. A park run is a great way to measure weekly progress. 
Try something new
A challenge doesnt need to be time or distance related. Have fun and think outside the box when you set yourself challenges. You could run to work, find a new route, go to a set location, race public transport, the possibilities are endless. Invest time into planning a challenge, then go out there and do it.
Plan rewards
What keeps you going? I for one like to be rewarded. Set yourself treats, whether this be something simple like a cup of hot chocolate after a run, a takeaway at the end of a week, or putting money aside to build up to something you really want. If you have something to look forward to you will work for it.
Run with others
It's easy to miss a long run if no one knows about it.l, but if you have a friend or a club waiting for you then you are less likely to disappoint. Making it social is a great motivator to you can go for a run, then a coffee and cake, now that's worth getting out of bed for.
Track progress
Gradual progress will often go unnoticed. If you dont track this progress you can lose motivation as you dont think you are getting better. However, have you ever looked back a number of mo ths or years and thought, wow, look how far I've come? Well track the small milestones and keep motivated to push more.
Get new kit
Treat yourself to some new running gear, and get out there and use it. Often a nice new pair of trainers will be a good motivator, and can keep you going until your next big race.
Have fun
Why are you doing this? What do you want to achieve? Whatever your answers remember to enjoy yourself. You may want to lose wait, improve your speed, or hit a new distance target. If you enjoy yourself whilst you are doing it then you will keep doing it.
Don't forget at the end of the day that sometimes it's ok to have a break. If you dont feel motivated, it's not the end of the world if you just relax. Recovery is a vital part of training, and is often overlooked. If you are tired and unmotivated, just make sure the answer isn't that you need some time to recover... put your feet up and feel the OOOO!!!!
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