Here’s how to reinvigorate those new year resolutions which went from optimism to despair in just a matter of weeks
How are the healthy new year resolutions going? Not so good? Failed already? Perhaps it has now become only drinking on weekends, only eating crisps on a day ending in Y or running every day it’s not raining!!
Now is the time to look past the novelty of setting a few resolutions and do a few things that will really make a difference. Here’s triathlon champion Hywel Davies 10 tips to refresh and achieve what you want…
1: Set goals… Lots of goals
But not failure goals that you work towards, i.e. run a sub? 10k or lose Xkg, but set process goals that define every day or week of training. These can be things like eat certain foods daily, do certain activities daily, drink two litres of water a day, run five times a week, etc.
Once you have these established as healthy daily habits, then look at the outcome goals but set loads of them…..loads! 100 a month! They are better motivators than failing on every attempt for three or four months and not seeing progress. Set swim, bike, run, conditioning goals, lifestyle goals but both challenging and achievable within the month. Setting 100 goals and failing 40 of them still means you achieve 60 new things.
2: Set new strava courses… if you use it
Rather than chasing segments, a good motivation tool is to create a full segment for your own training route. This means that if you stop for a pee or for a rest, you lose time. These are only meaningful to you, but never run these flat out, just give yourself a nice boost when you run the full route a little faster than before. Set it on both directions, but importantly set the course for a run you have never done before. Make it private so it’s only for your use.
3: Stretch more
Adding a Pilates class, yoga session or 30-minute stretch routine after a run three or four times a week will slowly improve your posture and running. Follow a plan such as the Kinetic Revolution course and combine with conditioning exercises.
4: Strength train more
Strength and conditioning are not the same thing. Many may speak of them in the same phrase but they are different. Work together, yes, but you can do either independently. A lot of exercises won’t actually improve strength unless done with enough overload so only really activate muscles. Add some more weight to a few exercises such as deadlifts, squats, lunges etc. Certain exercises should go to a point of failure, some should not. Many people use weights but don’t strength train.
5: Run slower
Even when running every day or running 100-mile-plus weeks, it’s still hard to slow down enough to be a minute a kilometre slower than race pace. It takes a certain mind-set to allow yourself to run slow. It may be easier to run with other people and keep a conversation going, wearing heavier trainers, running off-road or just learning to run slow! Keeping fresh for the more intense sessions is vital during marathon training.
6: Race for fun
Enter races to run with no agenda other than to have fun. This can be racing of course, but also for race practice. Negative split, fatigued runs, double run days or just fancy dress, running with friends or for any other reason.
7: Plan a weekly run with others
Having a fellow athlete rely on you turning up to a training session is a good motivator. It means you set the alarm and get there whatever the weather. Running with someone helps you to do the 10 planned intervals rather than justify stopping at eight. Or complete the 20 miles rather than taking a short cut at 15.
8: Reassess before a race
Run at the fitness you have not the fitness you want. This is important. Too many runners train for a race and expect to run a certain pace, then realise after two miles that they cannot do it. Train for the pace you want by building up the time at which you can run at your target pace.
9: Add more movement
Do more stuff during the day. This is not just walking more but using opportunities to stretch or add extra stability/strength work during the day. If sat in one place, try setting an alert to get up and walk for two minutes every hour or stretch/squat/mobilise in the time it takes for the kettle to boil.
10: Posture correction
Do something this year that helps your posture. This is not just a few exercises but a habit or lifestyle change. A few easy wins are a back support for sitting or driving, getting a new mattress, attending a weekly Pilates class, or even just getting assessed. A lot of injuries can develop through poor posture so it’s worth investing in helping to stay injury free.