Even if you don’t “do” New Year’s Resolutions, the new year and a new training season require us to make some choices.
Which races or events do you want to ride, run, race? Do you want to hike the West Coast Trail or take a cycling vacation to Mallorca? Or is your primary goal to keep up with your spouse, friend, kids?
If these are the types of decisions you are making, you need to start planning to arrive at your goal ready and prepared.
5 Rules, in their order of importance, that will help with any goal
Rule #1: Create a plan and give something up (temporarily)
It doesn’t have to be expensive or complex, but you need to create a plan that will guide and motivate you to your goal. If you have more than one goal, you will need to chart them into your plan, accounting for travel time, family commitments, work obligations, and possibly a tiny buffer for a possible cold or covid outbreak.
Once you have committed to a plan, you need to decide what you are temporarily willing to give up to achieve this goal. How do you expect to find the time to train three, six, or ten? hours every week without giving something up? Will it be Netflix, cleaning the house, walking the dog, cooking, or likely a combination of these?
“Yes, you can have everything you want. Just not all at the same time.”
Rule #2: Trust and follow YOUR plan
There is no sense in choosing a plan, program, or coach if you don’t follow them. There are so many different programs you can choose from, and everyone will have a different opinion of which one is the best. You need to give your program 100% commitment before deciding if it does or doesn’t work for you.
Rule #3: Be consistent
Not one particular day will make or break your training, but each one is important collectively. It takes consistency over a minimum of three to six months before you will start to see significant changes. So enjoy the journey.
Rule # 4 Listen to your Body
Although this sounds contradictory to the previous rules, always listen to your body. Listen hard as it can be deceiving. Are you feeling tired or lazy? Are you overtraining or getting sick? Is the program too hard, or are you not putting in the effort? If you are unsure which it is, try training for ten minutes which is usually enough to get the endorphins pumping, and your laziness will disappear. If it doesn’t, and you still feel unwell, it would be better to quit and take a nap instead. If you never enjoy any of your workouts as you are constantly struggling to keep up, the program is too hard, and you need to completely abort your plan and choose one that can help you grow, not destroy you.
Rule #5: Write down your goals and recognize your victories
Fitness progression is a slow process that most people fail to recognize the change in themselves. As they become fitter/faster/leaner, they unconsciously alter their goals to the next level, barely recognizing how far they have come. By writing down your goals, you can look back and celebrate the victories as you achieve them. Not only does this help with motivation, but it also helps to keep things in perspective. We can’t all be Tour de France riders, but we can get a personal best in an event, lose 5lbs, or complete ten pull-ups, whatever your goal may be.