Beat the December Blues


Both as a Coach and athlete I find this time of the year and particularly December a challenge when it comes to training, planning training, keeping the motivation and at the same time enjoying the festive season the way it should be enjoyed.



There are many reasons December is a tough one:

  • Its cold and Dark
  • Everyone seems to get sick
  • The season is over and the next one seems a long way off
  • Routines get disrupted because of work / social events
  • But I think the biggest killer is that Athletes have had some down time and are now trying to get back into training so everything feels hard and slow!


It all sounds a bit doom and gloom which is a shame as really this is suppose to be “the season to be jolly”


But don’t worry! Help is at hand. Here are my top tips to turning what is often a negative time into something positive.


  • Use it as a time for planning!
    1. Set your 2018 goals and race calendar
    2. Plan the best way to achieve these goals
      1. Nothing better to boost your motivation then to have some big goals on the horizon
    3. Plan your winter training camp (if you can).
      1. for me just knowing that I am going to Lanzarote for some weeks at the worst time of the winter makes a massive difference. It make the winter seem short, it gives light at the end of the tunnel, its only 8 weeks until I can get some sun and some great training instead of 4 months!


  • A good chance to work on and address some technical areas of weakness especially in the swim.


  • Forget about technology and just train how you feel
    1. Nothing worse than having loads of input telling you how unfit and slowly you are going! So forget heart rate, pace, power, and everything else and just go to how you feel.
      1. Think of it like this – If you are fit in December and winning all your training sessions then you will not be fit when you actually need to be! So unless the Christmas turkey 10km is you key race be happy to be unfit.
  • Take yourself out your comfort zone!
    1. In the off season I like to ride cycle cross races, they are tough, exciting and great for bike skills but also I am rubbish at them so I have to real expectations and no pressure to perform but my improvement from race to race is significant just because its still all new.
  • Be consistent but flexible and relaxed
    1. So consistent means try to keep the training ticking over and not days without doing anything
    2. Flexible to move things around to cater for changes in plans, the weather, how you feel, unexpected work or social etc
    3. Relaxed that If you miss a session then just forget it and move on. The odd missed session in December will have no effect on your key race latter in the year. Also it is ok to stop for coffee and cake – I actually schedule this into athletes training –


Your aim for December should be to enjoy it. Then you will hit January fresh both mentally and physically but fit enough to really start to knuckle down to some good training.