With the holiday season upon us, we can begin to focus on the 2014 training/race season. Many athletes jump into training during the winter without really having a road map of where they want to go. I have listed some easy to remember tips that will help you get back on track and set yourself up for a good race season this year.
Get a Plan!
The most important thing you can do to get training back on track is to have a plan! It doesn’t matter if you follow something from a magazine, on-line or participate in a group training program. Have a plan and commit to it. The old adage says, “It’s easy once you commit.” This has never been truer then once you are on a plan. Tell your friends and family your plan, write it down and post it up so you see your workouts every day. If you do these things, you are much more likely to follow the plan.
Set Attainable Goals!
Don’t take on a 24 hour training week if you have only been averaging 5 hours for the last 2 months. Implement a plan that lets you slowly build up your hours and allows you reach your goals. Setting attainable goals that you can reach will allow momentum to build and you’ll feel more confident as the race season gets closer. If you set a goal that’s unattainable then you’ll likely be disappointed in the first month of the season. And that’s not a good way to start the training cycle!
Adding in a weight training program will let you not only increase strength and help avoid injury, but it will help raise your metabolism and burn some of those holiday calories off. What a triple bonus! If you have been out of the gym for a while, try some basic functional strength exercises such as: standing squats, one leg squats, lunges, side lunges, step ups, push-ups, dips, pull-ups, and or crunches. If you can learn to be creative, no matter where you are, you can always get in a good strength training session. Who needs a gym anyhow!
Get a Training Partner(s)!
“Misery loves company” goes the saying, so find yourself some friends to join you in your training. Having other athletes to hold you accountable for showing up is a strong motivator. This is a great way to push yourself to new limits and to make you show up in general. There are always athletes looking to train with a group, so form your own and keep the training going even on the days you don’t want to. For example, knowing that group swim is every Monday & Friday and group spin is every Wednesday, helps you to make it to those dark, cold winter workouts which you might otherwise miss.
Taking a yoga class or stretching class will increase flexibility, improve recovery time and promote lengthening of muscles. It will also help you relax and allow you to sleep better at night. As we get older we lose pliability in our muscles and keeping them supple with yoga or stretching will help us avoid injury.
These tips, while good for getting you back on track after the holidays, can also be implemented all season long.
Good luck in 2014!
Michael Ricci is a USAT Level III certified coach. This article appeared on his website www.d3multisport.com