Louise Minchin on her extreme preparations for the Norseman triathlon in Norway

Louise Minchin

Louise Minchin - Credit: Archant

The Chester-based BBC presenter knows the hard yards on wet Cheshire streets will help prepare her for an extreme triathlon in Norway

I have just come back from a freezing cold run in the rain, my hands and feet are still numb, but the rest of my body is buzzing with endorphins and I have a smile on my face. Before I pulled on my trainers, waterproof and wooly hat and forced myself to get drenched, I felt exhausted, irritable and completely lacking my mojo.

I often struggle with motivation to exercise, especially during the long dark winter months when I would prefer to be sitting on the sofa, nursing a cup of tea rather than getting cold and wet so I have to trick myself, force myself and cajole myself into exercising. Over the last few years, I have learnt there are a couple of things that really help.

For me, there is nothing like having a scary race planned, somewhere far off in the distance to persuade me to exercise. The more daunting the event, the better. This time, it is Norseman, an extreme triathlon in Norway, which will once again involve jumping off a ferry in the dark, a long tough cycle ride and then a marathon which ends at the top of a mountain. The added jeopardy of this race is that if you aren't fast enough, and you don't make the cut off time on the run, you aren't allowed to finish at the top. For safety reasons, only a certain number of athletes are allowed that honour.

Setting myself a big challenge helps with little challenges. I know the more hours I put in, the more likely it is that I will be able to complete Norseman in one piece.

Another massive motivator is reminding myself how exercise makes me feel. There is not a swim, bike or run that I have ever regretted (except for the couple of occasions I have fallen off), every single one has made me feel less stressed, more relaxed and happier.

But, even with the big challenge looming ahead, and knowing how exercise makes me feel there are days when it just seems too hard and I need inspiration from somewhere else. It can come from the most unexpected places. I was driving home in the drizzle the other day when I spotted a woman jogging along the pavement, soaked to the skin, being splashed by cars. Her determination made me feel ashamed of my inertia, and when I got home, I put on my trainers and went out, half an hour later, she had helped to put a smile back on my face.

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