It’s hot, humid, raining every day, and starting your workout at 5 in the morning makes staying motivated very difficult. It’s the midsummer slump. Couple that with the number of races slowing down to a trickle in July and August, and it most likely feels like you are losing all the gains you made over the last 10 months of training and racing.
It can take a significant amount of mental gymnastics to prepare yourself for an outdoor workout during the dog days of summer. It can really help if you reframed your mindset. One way you can reset is to list ten reasons why it is awesome to work out in the heat and humidity. They do not even need to be real. It would be best to outnumber all the negatives images your mind already had as you were tying your shoes. Things like, I have popsicles in the freezer for after my workout. Or, my pool is going to feel so good after my run. And then there is my favorite, I know I got this, and I will feel like a badass afterward! But come up with at least 10 and write them down.
Here is something else that will help. Believe it or not, a January 2016 study published in Sports Science Exchange found that heat acclimatization reduced physiological strain on the body, improved personal comfort and exercise capability, and reduced the risk of suffering from a serious heat illness when exposed to higher temperatures.
It takes time and perseverance, though. According to their research, it takes about one to two weeks of exercising in the heat for about 90 minutes a day to acclimate. Don’t want to go 14 days of torture in the sun? A December 2015 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that participants experienced similar benefits of heat acclimation by soaking in a hot bath after their workouts for six consecutive days. Now that could be fun with your workout buddy, or not.
No matter what motivates you, make sure you stay hydrated. If you can not carry enough water with you, drive your route before you run; hide partially frozen water bottles in bushes you can access during your run. Now you will also be training your mind as you remember where they are.
We all train for a different reason—Remember and concentrate on your why. Think about your why often.
An August 2019 study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that changes in mindset play an essential role in motivating people to work out. The major takeaway? Realizing that exercise is a stress reliever rather than a chore will help motivate you to get more active. The same study also highlighted the importance of social support for sticking to regular exercise. A good workout buddy will also help hold you accountable. You will be more likely to sustain weekly workouts if you have encouragement from friends and family. One more little important fact, your body releases more feel-good endorphins when you train in a group versus alone.
I hope this information helps you stay motivated. I have used some of this stuff for years. The rest I just found researching for this blog.
Stay safe out there! And always check with your doctor before you start any exercise program.
Don’t forget to get signed up for the Bocca Lupo Howl at the Moon 5K and the Publix Half Marathon/5K. You can find information on both events on our website at www.myfavoriteraceevents.com.
See you on Race Day.
Love you all!
Tracy, Race Director