Have you put your 2018 running/fitness plans into motion yet?
I recently read an article in a runner magazine that spoke of a study about creating new, good habits. According to the article the study found that people who took only one step toward an exercise or weight-loss goal (for example, getting a gym membership) were more likely to do things that set them back (like downing brownies). People who took an instant follow-up step (staying at the gym to exercise after joining) were more likely to stay on track. So – if you want to reach a new goal (perhaps a new race distance), you’ll have to do more than just sign up – head out for a training run to get the process started. Perhaps more importantly though – even if your goal race is many months away, don’t already start making excuses to not run. Go hit the gym anyway! How about some strength training to supplement your training?
What has helped me tremendously in keeping my goals is my running journal. I’m BIG on visual reinforcements and learning tools. For me this is way more than just keeping track of my weekly and monthly mileage; it’s a page that holds me accountable for my training. Good intentions are fine and well, but seeing the actual numbers on the page confirms that I’ve put my time and energy to good use.
Below is what my journal looks like. It keeps a running total of miles for the week and the month, along with dates of upcoming races. Each week I add little notes like what I’ve done at the gym (upper body, leg day, etc.), or why I had to skip a run/workout. The header shows my big goal for the year. Further down you’d see at what point my marathon training will start, when it’s time to taper, and of course race day is highlighted in big, bold, red letters.
Since I’ve been keeping this type of log for three years now, it connects me with the runner I used to be. By looking back on what worked and what didn’t, I can make better running decisions today and avoid mistakes that lead to burnout or injury.