If you’ve decided to get fitter in 2011 we’ve put together some inspirational reading for you. Now, the thing about New Year’s resolutions is that it is easy to start off full of good intentions, set near impossible goals, fall at a few hurdles and, by the end of February be back where you started.
With getting fit on the agenda the problem can be doubly difficult. Even those most wedded to the idea of a gym have to spend some time out there in the elements, which this year may well mean fighting cold, snow, and slippery ice. That alone could deflate your good intentions. What you need is to maintain the inspiration, turn your fitness activities into a habit, and recognise the good you are doing from a health perspective.
Getting fit, like most things in life, requires some motivation. The good news is that lots of things can provide that motivation. It is a big plus that you can achieve multiple goals simultaneously, the primary ones often being getting fit itself, losing weight and raising money for charity. For a lot of us the problem isn’t deciding we want to do these things. The problem is getting out of the front door and actually putting in the graft.
If you’ve never worked on your fitness before, or have done so in the past but let it go, getting started can seem daunting. But everyone who has a fitness regime now has been there. Many people who give up and start again have been there several times. So you’re not alone.
We all know that ‘I ought to be out there but I don’t really want to be’ feeling.
If that rings true, what you need is to get the habit.
I think the first three weeks of getting into a fitness regime are the hardest. It takes that long to get the habit and start to feel the benefits.
Week one is the novelty week. You’ve got new clothes, expensive shoes, and have to make the purchases worth-while. It might feel like a slog getting out there, but there is a sense of achievement too.
Week two is the challenge. You might achieve a little more with each session, but you can’t conquer that out of breath feeling or the tiredness. Your body aches. You start to realise this fitness lark is going to consume a bit of time. Time you could spend in the pub, in the bath, in front of the TV, or whatever.
Week three is the charm. You ache less. You can achieve what seems like a good session without feeling exhausted at the end of it. You understand that you don’t have to go flat out all the time and you start to get a feel for pacing yourself. You feel an energised glow when a session is over. The habit kicks in and you say “Wednesday? Oh I run for twenty minutes on a Wednesday”.
Once you’ve got the habit here are five tips to keep it going.
Find your golden time. Some people like to train first thing in the morning, some at lunchtime or in the evening. Others don’t care. Try different times, see how you feel, and choose what works best for you.
Plan properly. Don’t just say ‘must do three cycles this week’. It’ll be Thursday before you realise you’ve not done anything. Put sessions into your diary. Don’t just tag the day but mark out the time you’ll need. Factor in time for recovery and a shower.
Prepare. If you plan to get up early and go for a cycle, put your clothes out the night before. They’ll be staring at you when you wake up and hard to resist. Make it easy to get your kit on and get out of the door.
Set goals. Aim high but not too high. Don’t plan a marathon when you can’t run a mile. A progression might be: Run for twenty minutes without stopping, complete a 5k fun run, take part in a 10k race. While working for these you can have other simultaneous goals (remember that multitasking). Make the 5k a fundraiser, for example. Achieve one goal, pat yourself on the back and set another.
Use technology. It can record distance and time to chart your progress. It can monitor your heart rate and tell you if you are working too hard, or not hard enough. It can talk to you telling you to speed up or slow down. It can motivate you to try that little bit harder. Of course, that’s where www.fittechnica.com comes in. We review top technical gear for runners and cyclists in particular, and our reviews are in depth and detailed.
So, with your motivations organised, your habit generation underway, and your source of technology reviews sorted, it is all down to you. Enjoy.
This is a revised version of a guest editorial which first appeared at the Project Peoplerun web site. http://peoplerun.net/