The start of a new year is synonymous with grandiose goals of personal bests, new race challenges and come rain or shine training commitments.
However once the motivational surge of the New Year’s party, first run back at the club and that cool new gear your family bought you for Christmas has worn off, for many these goals soon fade back into aimless plodding or worse still, end up back on the couch.
If this has been your story – make 2016 the year that you become the Master of your resolutions by following these simple tips:
Master tip #1 – Avoid the McDonald’s Syndrome
Rome was not built in a day and nutritious food takes time to prepare! One of the most common mistakes among New Year’s enthusiasts is trying to achieve their goal on the first run. Soon you will run into one of us runner’s biggest enemies: illness, injury or mental burnout. Here old school is cool – following a consistent programme of steady controlled endurance running which gradually increases by no more than 10% per week will get you to your goal faster, healthier and happier than a 3 week 20 minute supercharge schedule that will most like not progress past week 1.
Master tip #2 – Have a plan and stick to it
Training without a plan is like driving with a GPS but never inputting the destination. A well designed plan will help you to:
- Stick to tip #1
- Train effectively (Smarter not harder!)
- Stay focused on the goal and keep your progress in check
- Reduce risk of overtraining, injury and illness
- Have more confidence in achieving your goal
Master tip #3 – The lifestyle principle
Successful and enjoyable running happens when your daily runs become a natural part of your everyday lifestyle. If you have a full time job, spouse and kids, trying to follow the training schedule of an Olympic athlete is going to leave you frustrated and grumpy at the dinner table.
Take an honest look at your weekly commitments and tailor your training to fit in with life instead of the other way around. There are also many ways you can optimize time by e.g. running to work, running in lunch hours, running while waiting for your kids to finish soccer practice etc. And… find ways to include the family in your training – it will go a long way to keeping the motivation up.
Master tip #4 – The power of team
Winter mornings are not nearly as cold and dark when you have a buddy. (Plus it is much easier to get up when you know someone is waiting for you!) Join a club, hook up with other runners in your neighborhood, start a run group at work – and if you really have to go it alone, upload your run onto Facebook so you can at least get some motivational likes!
Master tip #5 – Stick to the K.I.S.S principle
Simple is smart. Stick to the basic principles of training, don’t change what works and watch out for being carried away by the latest fad in the media.
All the best for 2016!