HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I hope you all had a glorious festive season. I think many of us are feeling it's back down to earth with a bump as we head back to work and have to battle on with every day life. What? No mince pies? No lazing around in my PJs watching Home Alone on repeat? This is an outrage!
Anyhoo, welcome to 2012! It's an olympic year and it's time for all of us to get on our grind. No doubt, many New Year's resolutions have been made involving exercise. As we all know, good intentions can fall foul rather quickly if we don't keep ourselves in check.
So, how do we stay motivated to keep up our running resolutions?
Well, if you took my advice from the first newsletter, you'll have signed up to a race. Having a clear target to shoot for will keep you on track. As I mentioned, I like to write out my training plan so I have a clear visual reminder of what I'm doing to keep me focused. I drew my plan for the Berlin Half Marathon yesterday. Here's what it looks like:
This will be stuck up on my bedroom wall and I'll mark off each session after it's done. Seeing the words 'Race Day' in the bottom right corner there is all the motivation I need to stop myself from slacking. I won't get there without completing every other square on this grid.
But that's not to say I won't have days where I just don't want to do it. Here are some tips I find help to keep me motivated:
- Even if you're not doing a race, drawing up a plan for the runs you plan to do through the week is still a good idea. There's a lot to be said for writing your goals down.
- If you're anything like me, you'll find social media a huge help. If you put it out there that you're going for a run, you'll find a ton of people who will tweet you all the encouragement you need. It also holds you accountable in a way - if you put it out there that you're going running, people are going to ask you about it, so you better go do it!
- I use Nike+ to keep track of my mileage and I find it a great tool. It's like a social network in itself, you can add friends on there, set personal goals or set up challenges and invite your friends to do it with you. I set up a challenge in late November to run 80 miles by December 31st. 66 people participated and it was a great way to keep me motivated to get out there and run over the festive period. It works especially well if you like a bit of friendly competition, as I do!
- Get a friend involved - if you have someone to train with, you are less likely to flake out on a training session in favour of a TV dinner. Knowing that someone else is relying on you being there is a great motivator. I personally prefer to run alone but when I'm training, I find track sessions particularly difficult so I have a 'track buddy', who is awesome and a little faster than me - she pushes me and knowing that she's there makes the session full of awesome, rather than something I dread every week. (And I think she's reading this so...hiiiii!)
- This may seem very simplistic but when you really feel like you don't want to run, put on your kit and just go outside. The hardest part is getting out the door to do it. Once you're on your kit and you're outside, you're unlikely to go back in before you've at least had a crack at it.
The Importance of Cross Training
Let's be honest, if running is the only thing you're doing, you're gonna get pretty bored. It's important to remember as well that running is high impact - it puts a lot of pressure on your joints, so you have to counteract that somehow.
So whatever it is you like to do, build it into your weekly routine. Swimming, biking, a salsa class? Whack it into the schedule. Give yourself a rest from running and engage your body in a different way. With running, you're just using the same muscles repeatedly, so you don't want to neglect the rest of your body. I personally love to throw a bit of boxing and pilates into the mix. Boxing is pretty much the best cardio workout you can get and pilates is essential for me to get my stretch time in and work on my core (core strength is massively important in running).
My Team Bangs on the Run girls will be doing the Sexy in the City Bootcamp workout twice a week just to vary their workout routine.
I often find that after doing a different kind of workout, I feel more invigorated and excited for my run.
That's it for this week folks. Have a great week and I'll see you back here next Wednesday with more tips and motivation.