5 ways to stay motivated during the colder months

 

It may be getting colder and darker, but moving for your physical and mental wellbeing is just as important as other times of the year – if not even more important! Today we are sharing some of our top tips for staying motivated, safe and well during the winter months.

We will also be giving you a sneak preview of some of the things we’ll be doing to stay active over at University of Bristol Sport.

 1) Exercise with friends

Getting out and moving may seem less appealing at the moment, but meeting a friend will make sure you stick to your plans and boost motivation for your workout too. It’s a great excuse to temporarily escape those Christmas family commitments and boost endorphins in the process.

Making plans with others can also make you more adventurous and can give you the confidence to try new things and push yourself further.

Winter bucket-list: Why not suggest a wintery walk or festive fitness class to try with a friend.

 2) Layer up to stay warm

Exercising outside can lower your blood pressure, reduce stress and will give you that all important variation to your workout. However, keeping warm whilst outside is key to making sure your workout is both safe and enjoyable.

Layers are really important, use the rule of three here; base layer, middle layer and top layer. The base layer will be key to keeping warmer for longer, it should fit snug to your body but still be breathable. The middle layer is the insulator and will work with the base layer to keep you snug, a light fleece is perfect. A top layer is there to keep you protected from wind and rain and remember; brighter the top layer, the safer you’ll be on darker evenings.

Winter bucket-list: Get layered up and find an outdoor boot camp or class to get the benefit of that fresh winter air.

An image of Clifton Suspension Bridge

3) Mix it up

It’s important to recognise when you’re stuck in a rut and to know when to mix it up. Trying something new, whether that’s a new activity or a new place to exercise or a new sport; making small changes can make a big difference.

Winter bucketlist: Try at least 3 new classes throughout December, this will give you a chance to find a new addition to your routine before the new year!

Image of a woman in a seated yoga pose with palms touching

4) Workout from home

It can be a very busy time of year for those who celebrate Christmas. If your day-to-day is starting to look a little different but you still want to fit active time into your day, home workouts can be a really convenient option. Don’t worry if you don’t have any home equipment, many workouts using just your body weight can be just as challenging and enjoyable, or you can use household items like a kitchen chair or even books!

Winter bucketlist: Join one of the @bristoluniactive live-streamed classes and try something new from the comfort of your own home.

5) Be kind to yourself

Our routines can look different at this time of year and that is okay. Whether you train for performance, to improve particular skills or just to feel good, take some time this season to rest and recover too. Whilst the festive season can be exciting and fun, it can also be overwhelming and stressful too. If you do need some additional support this winter, you can contact the university’s wellbeing team

Some other things on our team’s winter bucket list…

  • To go ice skating and try and stay on two feet for more than 5 minutes..
  • A long winter walk at Ashton Court followed by a hot chocolate
  • A 10km Christmas Eve run to blow off some steam!
  • To take some old friends climbing for a Christmas catch-up (followed by some mulled wine)
  • To practice 10 minutes of yoga every day during December

Keep an eye out for our Winter Warmer offer starting 11 December which offers anytime access to the gym, swimming pool and classes for just £20 for two weeks! Available to buy online from 11 December. Last use date 22 January 2022. 

10 things you can do with University of Bristol Sport that aren’t sport

Despite our name, we are not here to just support students and staff in pursuing competitive sport. In fact, we offer a huge range of activities, events, classes and opportunities for all of our community. Keeping active plays a key part in helping you maintain a healthy, happy life at university and there are more ways than you might think to get involved! In this blog post we’ll be sharing some of these.

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What to Eat Before and During a Run

Written by Dr Fiona Lithander, Performance Nutritionist and Dietitian

Dr. Fiona Lithander
Dr. Fiona Lithander


In this blog post, our in-house Dietician and Nutrition expert, Dr Fiona Lithander, gives us the information and advice that we need to stay well-fuelled before and during a long run. Whether you’re taking part in the University of Bristol Run Series Half Marathon or you like to de-stress with a long run in the evenings and on weekend, this post is for you!

 

 

Before a run

The key thing is to start your run well fuelled and well hydrated.  A pre-race meal is recommended about 3-4 hours before the start of the race. This may differ slightly between people which is why it is important to practice, to see what works best for you.

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Running for Wellbeing (part two) – The Five Ways

Sick of wellbeing? We don’t blame you!

Wellbeing is quite the topic right now and, because of that fact, wellbeing might possibly be a source of confusion, concern and annoyance for you. As something currently quite ill defined, tricky to grasp and without any consensus on actions or deliverables, I can really understand this. 

via GIPHY

Without being overly reductionist, let’s try in this short blog post to clear up the issue. 

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Faces of the Run Series: Roy Kiruri

The University of Bristol Run Series is a community and wellbeing focused virtual event. Through this event we are encouraging staff, students, alumni and people of Bristol to re-connect with one another over a common goal – be that 5k, 10k a Half Marathon (or all three!) – with the aim of bettering our physical and mental health during a time of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation.

Our ‘Faces of the Run Series’ blog posts will shine a light on individuals who have signed up to one, or more, of our virtual events and ask them to share what brought them to our virtual community this year! Through this blog series, we hope to introduce you to your fellow runners by putting a face to the Facebook profile, email address or Strava user we’ve only had the opportunity to ‘meet’ in 2D so far!

Bio

Name: Roy Kiruri
Staff or Student: Bristol SU Sabbatical Officer, International Students
Run Series Event: Whole Series!

 

 

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Running for Wellbeing

In this blog post our Pete Burrows, our University and Run Series and Wellbeing expert, ‘joins the dots’ between the activity of running and our individual wellbeing. It is for people whose ‘personal best’ has nothing to do with numbers – be that race time or distance – and everything to do with being your most authentic, happiest self and living your best life. 

COVID-19 and the Good News for Wellbeing 

Global perceptions of physical activities, like running, have been thoroughly shaken up and questioned during the pandemic. With so many of the more “traditional” forms of activity off-limits as a result of gyms and indoor sports facilities closing, more of us than ever have turned to running, as a free, always-open, option. This has presented a unique and very real opportunity to continue to break every stigma, stereotype, and general misunderstanding surrounding what running looks like, who running is for, why we choose running as an activity, and the overarching benefits it gives.

Whilst reported levels of physical activity have fluctuated due to the ongoing restrictionsoverall the perceived value of being active has grown significantly in the last year COVID-19.

Photo by Arek Adeoyea on Unsplash

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Faces of the Run Series: Brandon Dobson

“There isn’t anything worse than running – at least, that’s what I’ve believed my whole life so far.

I decided to take up cross-country with my school and that’s where I truly decided that running wasn’t for me.”

Bio:

Name: Brandon Dobson
Staff or Student: Student
Studying: Geography (BSc), School of Geographical Sciences
Year of Study: Third year
Additional roles: Lead Activator for Sport, Exercise and Health

There isn’t anything worse than running – at least, that’s what Ive believed my whole life so farI have always been very active and played sports that required me to run but at the age of 10 I decided to take up cross-country with my school and that’s when I truly decided that running wasn’t for me.  

I wasn’t terrible runner, but I was certainly no Mo Farah, often placing somewhere between 20th and 60th out of 150 to 200 people. I have always been competitive and given myself a hard time when I’ve not performed as well as I think I should, and as such, I often walked away from many sports when I had experienced a bad day In running, this competitive streak manifested  in trying to run longdistances far too quickly, which is why I struggled so much – my technique was entirely wrong

More than 12 years have passed since, and while my attitude towards my performance has relaxed significantly, my hatred of running competitively has remained. When I heard about the Bristol Run Series, my first thought was “why would anyone want to do that, I cant think of anything more boring than running for hours. Nonetheless, lockdown took its toll and I have become significantly less active, from doing some form of fitness every day to now only getting active around once a week. The effects were noticeable; my physical wellbeing suffered and my mental wellbeing was far from where it should be – I was unhappy. In desperate need to get myself back into shape – physically and mentally –  I did something quite shocking I signed up for the whole Bristol Run Series. 

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Faces of the Run Series: Teigan Ball

“I have been really struggling with motivation during these last few weeks. The Run Series provides me with an excellent opportunity to do this for me, to collect the medals, join a community and feel a part of the university again.”

A lady running in a maroon coloured jacket
Action shot of Tiegan running

 

Name: Tiegan Ball

Role: Wellbeing Sports Liaison Officer

Division: Student Wellbeing Network, Bristol SU

Other roles: NHS Bank Worker and Novice Captain, University of Bristol Boat Club

Studying: Bachelor of Science, BS Childhood studies

 

What is your experience with running up until now?

I never used to run; I was adamant that I couldn’t do it. I used to think it would deteriorate my muscle growth. However, in the first lockdown, I purchased my first pair of running shoes. I started with a short 5k around the downs, once or twice a week as a maximum. I was very much a gym girl; cardio wasn’t my forte at all. Since the first lockdown, I have steadily increased my distance and decreased my time. So, to cut it short, I am probably an intermediate runner.

A fitness tracker screenshot showing a run route around Bristol Harbour
Tiegan’s favourite run route around Bristol Harbour

What motivated you to sign up for the run series in 2021?

I have been really struggling with motivation during these last few weeks. The run series provides me with an excellent opportunity to do something for myself, to collect the medals, join a community and feel a part of the university again.

What is your top tip for getting out the door for your training runs?

For me, I must schedule the run a few days before. I am not a spontaneous person as such, I like to mentally prepare for a run. I like to eat properly beforehand (a carby meal a few hours before). It is about doing what suits you. I also like to run in the evenings, as a break in-between studying. The sunsets are also so beautiful so it is great for the mind as well.

A lady running with the sun setting behind her
Tiegan running at sunset

What are you most looking forward to about taking part in the Run Series this year?

I am most looking forward to being a part of a community again. I love to socialise and, obviously, it has been hard this year to feel connected. The run series will allow me to feel a part of a team and strive to be the best version of myself that I can be!

What is your favourite pre-run snack/food?

I love sliced banana with peanut butter on top (crunchy peanut butter, of course). Personally, it is so important that I also eat well the day before. If I eat poorly, I can’t expect a good time but again just getting out and running is so much better than not doing anything. Do this for you.

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There is still time to sign up for the first Run Series event, the virtual 5k, this weekend (20-21 March). For more information, and to sign up, visit the Run Series website.

 

 

Faces of the Run Series: Rushab Shah

Our second Face of the Run Series is this year’s elected Sports and Student Development Officer, Rushab Shah. Rushab has been at home in Nairobi, Kenya since Christmas, which is where he will be running the Run Series virtual 5k on the weekend of 20-21 March.

A selfie of Rushab Shah and his Sister, Sachee, smiling
Rushab and his sister, Sachee, out on a run

Bio

Name: Rushab Shah
Staff or StudentStudent Sabbatical Officer
Role: Bristol SU
Run Series Event: Whole Series!

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Faces of the Run Series: Vicky Dickson

The University of Bristol Run Series is a community and wellbeing focused virtual event. Through this event we are encouraging staff, students, alumni and people of Bristol to re-connect with one another over a common goal – be that 5k, 10k a Half Marathon (or all three!) – with the aim of bettering our physical and mental health during a time of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation.

Our ‘Faces of the Run Series’ blog posts will shine a light on individuals who have signed up to one, or more, of our virtual events and ask them to share what brought them to our virtual community this year! Through this blog series, we hope to introduce you to your fellow runners by putting a face to the Facebook profile, email address or Strava user we’ve only had the opportunity to ‘meet’ in 2D so far!


Bio

Name: Vicky Dickson
Job: Business Development Officer
Division: Sport Exercise and Health
Run Series Event: Whole Series!

 

 

 

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