By Anna Ratliff

As the days remain dark and cold, motivating yourself to get or stay in shape can be tough. But many of us have serious training plans – beginning with the New Year. There are New Year’s Resolutions to attain, plenty of spring races to train for, and holiday treats to burn off.

Here are some tips for things to do now, that will not only get you in the right exercise-driven mindset, but also strengthen your body to prevent injury during the real training.

  1. Incorporate regular strength training into your week. Not only does strength training help your muscles, tone your body, burn calories, and help against injury, but it also allows you to lead a capable, healthy life at any age.
  2. Try a meditative practice such as yoga. Yoga and similar practices improve circulation, stretch tight areas of the body, and also strengthen critical muscles, such as the core and hip groups. On top of those benefits, yoga allows one to relax and breathe deeply, perfect for this hectic time of year. Check out the free yoga Monday nights at Salt Lake Running Co starting in January!
  3. Challenge yourself to eat more plant foods instead of holiday treats. The high-sugar, processed foods cause mood swings and negative health effects, none of which are needed before a serious training season.
  4. Get outside regularly. While the air quality is still decent, enjoy nature and the outdoors. Motivating yourself to train in the cold is easier if you’ve already been spending time outside.
  5. Prepare mentally with appropriate gear and layers, so you can avoid getting sick as the temperature drops. No one wants to start their marathon training or Resolution with a depressed immune system!
  6. Spend time with people you love. Not only is it holiday season, but also being around people you care about will give you more purpose and a positive mindset. Hey maybe you can even rope someone into training with you!

As the end of the year approaches, get a head start on your training. Don’t procrastinate. Building solid, healthy habits now! Your body will thank you for treating it well in the off season. So make a little time each day for one of these tips, and start your off season training!

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