Get Fit: 4 Tips for Getting Over the Off-Season Slump


I trained pretty hard for my 4th half marathon. I set a schedule and ran at least 3 times a week consistently for most of August and all of September and October. I ran (and did awesome, by the way), and then I went into the dreaded off season.

So far the last month has consisted of:
1. not running
2. baking cookies 
3. eating donuts
4. pinning articles to pinterest about running and fitness that I don't even take the time to read

My fitness pinterest board has exploded lately, and I have no idea why. I only have something like 10 pins on there, but I get an email at least once a day saying someone new is following my fitness board. It's all random people I don't know. 

Instead of being glad I have more followers, it just leaves me feeling confused about where these people are coming from and makes me feel even worse about the fact that I haven't been doing anything active. I'm basically a total poser.

This went on for a while until about a week ago when I finally decided I had had enough guilt and donuts, and I went for a run. It put me back in the right mood, I can now officially say I'm out of the slump. I'm slowly easing back into running with short 2- and 3-mile runs in preparation for the crazy marathon training I'll be doing come January. 

So that's me, but everyone is different, and a slump can mean a host of different things depending on who you are. Some of you probably think I'm being a brat acting like a 2-mile run is "short," and you might be right. 

Still, no matter where you are in terms of fitness, there's always a way to get off the couch and out of your slump. Here are my 4 tips for getting out of the off-season slump.

You don't have to be a runner to be active. Running isn't for everyone, and if the thought of running a mile makes you want to tear your legs off, pick something else! You know you don't have to run for it to count, right? 

Go for walk, bike,  swim, lift weights, do yoga, or a workout video. Whatever you do, don't feel lame. Just by walking for 30 minutes every other day, you're being more active than a lot of people. The first way to get out of your slump is to decide what activity you're going to do. Choose something because you like it, not because of anything someone else is doing. Don't be afraid to start small. If walking for 10 minutes is all you can handle, just do that. The rest will come.

I happen to live at an apartment that has a gym, so I do a lot of my runs on the treadmill if my runs are going to be late at night or early in the morning when it's dark outside or raining or whathaveyou. If I'm outside, I have a few different routes worked out. For me, knowing where I'm going helps me plan my workouts.

If you don't have a gym within walking distance, find the nearest gym or YMCA to your house. Maybe your community center has zumba classes or cardio sculpt classes; maybe you can workout at your office gym. There's always somewhere, even if it's in your own home with a Jillian Michaels's video or yoga online. That counts too. I can't tell you how many times I have done a 20-minute video instead of going for a run. I figure, at least I'm doing something. (Unless I *cough* fall asleep during said video. Low point.)
This is often the hardest part, and so many people say they don't have time to be active.  This is completely untrue. I know people with multiple kids who still find the time to get out and do something. Time is not an excuse. It might be an excuse for the length of your activity, but it should never be an excuse for not going at all. That's just lazy talk.

For me, the best way to fit in a run or workout is in the morning. That's when I know I'll have time to go, because I'm fitting it in before my regular day even starts. Working out in the morning is really great because I feel accomplished the rest of the day and I don't have to worry about/dread my evening workout because it's already done!

After a few months, or even weeks, getting up at 5:15 isn't even that big of a deal. I know that sounds crazy, but I promise it's the truth.

Once you've decided what and where and when, there's really only one thing left:

At some point you actually do have to get off the couch, put on a sports bra, and get your butt moving. Here's what gets me going when I really don't want to: the thought of how good it will feel when I'm done. Yes, that's slightly depressing, but sometimes the best motivation is just thinking about the end. 

Hopefully this has motivated you to be active for the rest of the winter season. It's not easy, but it's also not all that hard once you make a plan. Here are a few links that I've found helpful/interesting on the subject for further reading: 

-A post I wrote on how to make running feel easier
-This article on how to stay motivated through the winter (the idea behind this post)
-An exercise routine you can do while watching TV
-14 songs with the perfect beat to run at 10-min/mile pace

And feel free to check out my fitness board on pinterest. Everyone's doing it for some reason I can't figure out.

Now get off the couch and get moving! Also, I'd love to hear about any tips/tricks you have for staying active or ways you plan on being active in 2013

P.S. Holler to anyone in the OKC area. I'd love to find a marathon training partner so I don't have to do long runs all by my lonesome. Hit me up!
LeAnna said...

Yeah, my life has consisted of those first three, too. Oh, and being pregnant too, so basically I've just been growing. B brought home a whole box of fried pies from Texas, and I kind of wanted to hit him for it. After I ate one, of course...but seriously, don't get pregnant and be in the end of your 2nd/early 3rd trimester around T-giving and Christmas. It just isn't fair...

Moments and Impressions said...

I love working out in the am... my favorite. Right now our littlest thinks 4:30 is wake up time - not appropriate. So as soon as he gets it right - I am "off season". His wake up time makes my old workout time of 5:30 seem lame!!