With shorter days and leaves on the ground, it signals we’re heading back into winter, sometimes with the urge to shut ourselves away during the colder months. This week, FINDRA Ambassador Owain Williams provides some motivational tips to help you keep active outdoors through winter.
The nights are “fair drawing in” as the saying goes and it can be difficult to stay motivated when it comes to getting outdoors. The mornings are dark and cold and the thought of leaving your house on an evening can be daunting, so here are my tips for adapting to shorter days:
Plan your week – If you know what you have planned, then you can stay focussed and make other plans around those sessions.
Wear layers – You can always take off a layer if you are too warm. It’s much better to be too warm than struggle in the cold!
Find some artificial light – On the darker mornings and nights, choose well lit routes to run, cycle, walk but try and keep your routes varied.
Find time during the day – If you don’t feel like going out in the mornings or evenings, try and get out at lunch time. Even if it’s raining, just running or having a walk outdoors in daylight can make a massive difference.
Try out an indoor activity – Can you start a new indoor sport or activity? I took up bouldering last year during the winter months to help me keep active and I love it.
And finally – wear bright colours. This is not just for visibility, it's also a great way to boost your mood!
In addition to the points above, I like to arrange to meet friends for runs and get a bit of social interaction, particularly at the weekends. It’s can be easy with the Covid-19 situation to stay at home and not see anyone, but we all need human contact, even in these times. If you don't have anyone locally to run with, could you give someone a call while on your run and talk to them about where you are running?
Make plan around a specific time of day
I often try to chase the sunshine on my runs and love to catch a sunset and take photos. This adds an extra reason for getting out, who doesn't love a sunset?! Other times of day can be motivating too, such as being rewarded with the sunrise on a frosty morning after an early run, or checking out the stars on a crisp clear night.
Organising off-road night-time adventures with friends to coincide with a full moon can also be fun way to see local trails in a totally different light. And if the sky’s clear enough, can mean no need for a torch!
Get creative, get positive
To help keep me in a positive mindset, I really enjoy listening to music and it’s very rare that the radio or Spotify playlist isn’t playing. I find listening to music can really help with my mood.
A good upbeat playlist can make even the dullest of days seem so much better. Some of the bands that I am currently listening to are:
A bit of everything really.
I'm also really enjoying reading Terry Pratchett just now. I go through phases of reading but The Long Earth series of books has really grabbed my attention and imagination.
To improve my mindset and add an extra but of motivation is to treat myself to some new kit every now and again. I love the feeling of pulling on a new t-shirt or a new pair of shoes and helps to get me out the door!
Other motivational ideas
At FINDRA we’ve posted some past posts about getting motivated for the outdoors during the winter months and you can find them here:
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Homemade power bar flapjack recipe
If you’re not into off-the-shelf energy bars or gels and supermarket goodies full of unnecessary extras, why not try this delicious recipe for making your own flapjack – perfect for your next long run or bike ride. After all, we have to fuel these adventures and if you know you have good food to eat while out in the cold and the dark, it might just help.
The nuts and almonds are packed with essential minerals and vitamins while the oats are an excellent source of slow release energy and feel free to add in your own extras – chocolate or alternative nuts and seeds.
To make 16 bars:
125g unsalted butter
150g soft brown sugar
125g no-sugar-added crunchy peanut butter
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
200g porridge oats (not jumbo)
150g dried fruit, such as raisins, sultanas and chopped apricots, prunes or dates, either singly or in combination
150g mixed seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Grease and line a baking tin, about 20cm square.
2. Put the butter, sugar, peanut butter, honey and grated citrus zests in a deep saucepan over a very low heat. Leave until melted, stirring from time to time.
3. Stir the oats, dried fruit and three-quarters of the seeds into the melted butter mixture until thoroughly combined. Spread the mixture out evenly in the baking tin, smoothing the top as you go.
4. Scatter the remaining seeds over the surface and trickle with a little more honey. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden in the centre and golden-brown at the edges.
5. Leave to cool completely in the tin (be patient – it cuts much better when cold), then turn out and cut into squares with a sharp knife. These bars will keep for 5–7 days in an airtight tin.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett
Owain mentions the The Long Earth, a collaborative science fiction series of 5 books by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.
The Long Earth is the first of the series where the main protagonist ‘steps’ repeatedly between multiple, parallel versions of Earth to discover its inhabitants and eventually confront a menace that looms over the ‘real’ Earth and mankind.
Slower paced and lacking the humour of Pratchett‘s Discworld series, this collaboration with Baxter is certainly packed full of interesting ideas and well worth a read.
MUSIC OF THE WEEK
She’s a Rainbow by The Rolling Stones
Although the lyrics are ambiguous and nothing to do with autumn, this tune by The Stones always makes me think of the changing seasons. It comes from the band’s 6th album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, and was recorded at a time of upheaval within the group.
An uplifting tune based around a baroque style piano it’s motivation to get outdoors regardless of what the weather! Enjoy.
Rolling Stones – She’s a Rainbow