Don’t turn your world upside down

The new year is here! Did you create some resolutions or just set some running goals for the new year that you’re ready to chase down?

Whether the goals are focused on process/training (maybe weekly or yearly miles, maybe a certain training schedule or amount of auxiliary training) or focused on an outcome (such as reaching a qualifying time or simply a time goal for a given race or distance) you might have big plans about how you’re going to revamp your training to accomplish the goals.

Just don’t change too much, too soon.

It’s a common thing we see this time of the year. People set big goals, in running and fitness or in completely unrelated pursuits. They then make the plan to achieve those goals and go all in, all at once. With the all in, no compromises approach, they last a few days, maybe a week or two, almost never a full month, then they burn out and the change is history.

Instead of doing that, instead more gradually apply the change. Maybe you want to do an hour per week of auxiliary training of some kind. If you haven’t been doing anything, don’t go straight to an hour a week. Start with 5 minutes a day, 2-3 days a week. Once you get that down for a couple of weeks, increase to 10 minutes a day. Do that for a few weeks or until you’re comfortable with it, then you can go up to 15. Not terribly long after and you’ll be up to 20 minutes a day. If you started at 3 days a week, you would be at an hour per week possibly by the time spring rolls around.

If you started with only 2 days a week, you’d be ready to add in the third day at 5 minutes and build that up. You’re still up to an hour a week possibly by the start of summer.

You’ve now implemented the positive change, met your goal for the year, but done so in a way that is far more likely to be successful in the long run than if you go all in, right away.

In addition, I’d encourage you to not be too strict with the goal. Using the auxiliary training example, does it really need to be an hour a week every single week? What if it’s 70 minutes for three weeks, then 30 minutes on the fourth week? You’re still averaging an hour a week. Or just stick with an hour a week for three weeks, then 30 minutes or even a week off to rest? You’re still getting an hour a week more often than not and you’re making significant progress while still allowing some flexibility for life to happen and for your body to get some recovery time. Even if you’re only doing 45 or 50 minutes a week instead of an hour, you’ve still made a positive change.

So don’t try to tackle the goal all at once and give yourself some flexibility. You’ll be much more likely to succeed and implement positive change if you do those two things.

Note: This is a topic that I originally mentioned in this month’s newsletter. Normally, I explore topics in the newsletter that I don’t explore in the blog, or at least do so at very different times, but I thought this topic was worth bringing up for both. If you do want more topics like this that will very infrequently cross over to the blog, please consider subscribing:

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