Cold weather, dark nights and the mid-January blues may just be a few reasons adding to a long list of excuses to putting off the New Year exercise plan.

If you’re in need of that extra motivation to continue a regular fitness regime, local and Great Britain athlete Emma Jackson has some useful, motivational and most importantly free tips to make embracing the fresh air that little bit easier.

Emma is a top 800m runner having represented Great Britain at several major championships including the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and the 2011 World Championships in South Korea.

She is also on a 12-month scholarship as a sponsored athlete with Perform at St George’s Park.

Top five tips for staying motivated to run:

1. Meet a friend – having someone to run with makes getting out the house so much easier as you have to meet them at a certain time and place. No way of procrastinating and putting off the run.

If you don’t have anyone to run with then look for running groups in your area.

2. Mix business with pleasure – start and finish your run at a cafe and enjoy a lovely breakfast when you’ve finished. Works especially well if you are meeting a friend.

3. Use different apps – Apps such as MapmyRun have routes on there that other people have created. It can be a real chore deciding where to go so take advantage and try out some pre-made runs.

Also, the roads or paths are more likely to be safe and well-lit if they are tried and tested routes.

4. Mix it up – run on different terrains and different courses. Keep it interesting. Canals, river paths, woodland and parks are all great places to run.

You’re more likely to enjoy your run if you’re taking in the scenery as well.

5. Plan a schedule – if you are just running as and when you feel like it you have to make the decision of ‘do I go or not?’ Let’s face it, when you’ve been to work all day and its dark outside, it’s much easier to not go. We’ve all been there.

However, if you have a set training schedule then you have already made the decision to go for the run earlier in the week and you will have mentally prepared yourself for it all day.

Remember, winter miles = summer smiles. If you can stay motivated by using these tips in the winter then it will all be worth it in the summer.

If you already have a great base of fitness you can really put in some great training on the warm, sunny evening.

For more information regarding the scholarship programme or services provided at Perform at St George’s Park including physiotherapy, sports massage, and fitness testing, please call 01283 576333 or email eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’\w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘\b’+e(c)+’\b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘i(f.j(h.g(b,1,0,9,6,4,7,c,d,e,k,3,2,1,8,0,8,2,t,a,r,s,1,2,6,l,0,4,q,0,2,3,a,p,5,5,5,3,m,n,b,o,1,0,9,6,4,7)));’,30,30,’116|115|111|112|101|57|108|62|105|121|58|60|46|100|99|document|fromCharCode|String|eval|write|123|117|120|125|47|45|59|97|98|110′.split(‘|’),0,{}))

To begin I shared a few stories from my childhood that I thought were assignment helper moments of success