You already signed up for that running race, mud run, challenging bike ride or triathlon, and what's next? You are already using the few free hours in the week to do an extra lap of running, cycling or swimming. Every week, just a little bit more, a little harder and there you go! I can say from experience that the journey and the process to the ultimate goal are the most enjoyable.
Now, I am not a planner by nature, but I did learn to plan. It is important to work purposefully toward a result in order to achieve it. In this first blog, I will give you a few tips and trick so that you can keep working towards your goal. It won't take much of your time, at most an hour of planning, by following my next 5 tips.
1. Start at the end
This may sound crazy, but that's exactly why a lot of people already make mistakes. With the end, I mean the date by which you must meet your goal. This could be the date of a specific event or perhaps a personally set goal. Use an online calendar, or better yet write it down on paper, and mark the date in question. Hang this calendar somewhere in clear sight and make it tangible. Every single day, that goal stares at you, and that makes it more likely you won't give up!
2. Break it down into small chunks
From the set date, count back to where you are now. Divide this period into blocks of, for example, three weeks. After each three weeks, a new cycle begins. Keep the last three weeks completely open and start with the first three weeks. In each three-week cycle, block the last five days. My tips:
- take at least one day of rest during the week, preferably on a set day.
- Take it easy during the first three days of a new cycle.
- Use the last five days of each cycle to recover. These are relative resting days. Relative as you are training, but at an easier level.
3. Alternate, a good mix is key.
For different goals, you need different workouts. To train your body for a specific competition, you obviously need to be able to give 100%. Just make sure you balance the right amount of energy so that your body has a chance to adapt. If you do the same endurance run 3 times a week, your body will get used to it. Now a little bit of habituation is fine, but after that, nothing happens. If you keep doing the same crossword puzzle over and over again, you won't learn anything,. This works the same for workouts. For this reason, it is good to alternate different workouts, for example, a light endurance run with a heavier interval workout.
4. Do interval training
With interval training, you cut the work into small pieces. For example, you might workout 1 minute 10 times at a higher pace, then continue at a very slow pace for 1 minute and then repeat this 10 times. Resting days are also a variation on workouts and are often forgotten. So create a good mix of endurance, strength or circuit workouts, like I do at Fitchannel.com. For the tougher workouts, FIRST also works really well. It is the main reason I created FIRST to get through these workouts effectively!
5. Work in silence
You've set your goal, finished the plan and you want to tell your entire family and friends. However, this is not wise. The more often you share the end goal, the more you already enjoy thinking about achieving it without even taking a step in the right direction. 'Listen to your body' is what I often hear in elite sports and that should apply to you as well. Stick to your plan, but in silence. Don't waste energy getting distracted or thinking about the feeling you get when you cross that finish line. Analyze, improve, and keep working day in and day out, and you will perform as best as you can. That's all you can do and it saves a lot of excuses afterwards. Good luck with these tips!