While the 3CheapRunners are blasting Bahama Mamas on a Dominican beach, we have asked a few of our blogging buddies to handle our posts for us. Today we have Laura from Catching My Breath taking over…Thanks Laura!
First of all I want to say thanks to Michelle, Rhoda and Mike for having me as a guest in the Three Cheap Runners corner of the world. I thoroughly enjoy following along with each of their journeys, so of course I was pumped to be a part of it for a day. Seeing as we are roughly a month into 2014 I felt like this was a really good time to talk about fitness/health goals & resolutions.
It's almost that time of year, that time where we all start fading back into routine. That time of year where 'resolutioners' start going to the gym less, and healthy habits from New Years start fading.
Part of the problem with New Years? Everyone is so eager to make changes that they change everything ALL at once! It's really hard to make changes and stick to them, let alone changing everything about your life and expecting to maintain it. Personally I think more people would be able to maintain their resolutions if they started a little slower and focused on changing the little things and progressing as time goes on. But I totally understand the 'fresh start' mentality, just go cold turkey so to speak.
A big portion of my Certified Personal Trainer Course focused on progression. You don't just go from couch to bench pressing 200 pounds, or from couch to marathon overnight. Even for those already in an exercise program, you don't go from body-weight squats to one legged jump squats with weight overnight. Why? Because it's not safe, and it's not realistic. Changes take time, this is true especially for your health and fitness.
We all get that "Gung Ho" attitude when we want to do something. We start running and then the following week we double our mileage because our mind is ready, even though our bodies might not be. You sign up for unlimited cross fit classes after New Years after being sedentary for a while, and soon find yourself overwhelmed and overworked. We start races way faster than we should, because we are excited and feeling good. It's hard not to start things with an "all in" mentality, but learning to do things progressively is much safer, realistic and effective.
So what does that mean?
Say you want to start working on getting into shape--start working out MODERATELY a few days a week, don't just dive into the most extreme training. Start slower and progress to more intense exercise or classes. Another way to do this is start at smaller amount of time and gradually increase as the days and weeks pass. Studies show that new exercisers are over 50% more likely to drop an exercise regimen if it is too intense off the bat. So ease into things, you'll be glad you did!
Say you are fading from your New years resolutions now that January is over--Pick 3 small things you want to work on this week and focus on those and don't worry about everything else. Maybe focus on drinking more water and less soda, make a goal to get to the gym 3 times, or if you have been good about working out the last month maybe start incorporating short intervals into your workouts. Little changes make the big differences. Perhaps add a new class if you are in a 'rut' and have been doing the same workouts for the last month. This will help you stay on track without being overwhelmed.
Say you want to increase your weekly running mileage-- I have definitely gotten caught up in this one. Your mind is ready to run a million miles, but you have to give your body time to adjust. There is the 10% rule (don't increase weekly mileage by more than 10% each week), there is also the "be SMART" rule. 10% is a good guideline but some people can handle more or less when it comes to volume-ease into things. Figure out what works best for you, maybe you can add 12-15% each week and be okay, maybe you can only add 5%. There is NOTHING wrong with easing into things, the last thing you want is to end up burned out or injured from piling on the miles too quickly.
Say you want to work on finishing runs stronger--Key to finishing stronger, is to start easier (slower). Start 15-60 seconds slower per mile and increase your pace every half mile or every few minutes. A great way to start practicing this-- the TREADMILL! Yes I know that is a dirty word to some, but I think it is a wonderful tool when trying to teach your body how to run progressively. I have prided myself on my 'negative split abilities' for distance racing, and I know that learning to start slower and ease into my runs(in training Runs AND races) is how I got there.
Like I said, I know it's hard not to 'go all out' right off the bat. I understand that, I have been there and still have issues with that from time to time. In the long run you are much better off progressing a little slower with anything in life. The first one out of the gate doesn't always reach the finish line first. Pacing yourself in health, fitness and life in general allows you to really appreciate the steps along the way.
Do you tend to just dive into things?