It’s summertime and everyone seems to be enjoying all their favorite activities. In particular, I’m getting lots of questions from my running students and clients asking for some training tips. And I realized that many of the 26.2 tips I was giving them, pertained to most other sports as well.
No matter what YOUR favorite activity is these days, and whether you’re in training for a particular event or not, please follow along and I guarantee you’ll find these useful.
Here are my tips, insights, and suggestions to help ensure you find JOY-in-movement!
1. Set a goal.
For most of us, a goal adds to the sense of purpose we bring to our sports. Make it a realistic goal but also one that makes you a little nervous because you know it will take effort to achieve. I think this adds a bit of excitement to your workouts.
2. Gear up.
Get properly fitted for shoes, a bike helmet, swim goggles, or whatever apparel and gear your sport requires. I am not always great at this and currently need new shoes, a new bathing suit, and my bike needs a tune-up. If you’re like me and put off this kind of preparation, then move this suggestion to number ONE on the list.
3. Alternate shoes.
Shoes take a beating no matter what we’re training for. A good pair of running or walking shoes, for instance, will last about 500 miles or longer if your technique is good. And if you have a road race scheduled, remember to break in a new pair of shoes at least a month before your race.
4. Tune up.
Even though you’ve set a goal, you’ll get there one workout session at a time. Too many people start their training by gearing up too hard and too fast.
Here’s an example. A few years ago I got a call from a group of women that had started their marathon training and were getting injured. What I found out was that they had started out their training by doing runs on hills. They had pulled some marathon training program off the internet and this is what was suggested. Not a good idea at all, and we were able to make the changes that got them back on track with their training.
5. Find a partner. There is strength in numbers. Partners keep you motivated and accountable. And it’s always good to have someone there to laugh with when the going gets a bit wonky. If you’ve ever played golf with me you know what I mean!
6. Routine rules. Establish a regular schedule that you follow as consistently as possible. Plan your workouts and training sessions and do your best not to break those appointments. You will get the most out of your training if you know exactly what you’re doing and when you’re doing it.
7. Get strong.
You’ve heard me say many times that a lot of good things happen when you get stronger. A regular strength-training routine will help you become a more well-rounded, injury-resistant athlete who is better equipped to handle the demands you place on yourself. Your strength-training doesn’t have to be fancy, or for very long, and twice a week is a good rule of thumb.
8. Learn how to rest.
Just as important as your training is how well you’re recovering from its physical and mental demands. At rest, your body repairs itself allowing you to come back stronger and make fitness gains. That’s true for your mind as well. Allow your brain to shut down from over-analyzing all the details of each training session. You’ll find that after both physical and mental rest, you’ll come back to your training refreshed and excited!
9. Keep your tank full.
You wouldn’t head out on a long road trip without enough gas in your car tank, would you? When you train consistently it’s important you also eat consistently to sustain your energy levels. Don’t skip meals or skimp on calories during periods of medium to heavy exercise or training.
10. Train your mind.
It’s important to stay physically fit, but you also want to be mentally ready for any challenges that your training or workouts might entail. Some people enjoy visualizing the results they want, whether that’s seeing yourself at the end of an open water swim race, or seeing your golf approach shot to the green land only a few feet from the cup. If you begin to doubt yourself as you train, positive self-talk helps train your mind to help you work through rough patches in your training.
11. Keep a log.
Tracking your workouts, what you’re doing and how you’re feeling, is a good idea. Your log doesn’t have to be anything fancy but it will help you track improvement, monitor your recovery, and help you see how far you’ve come in your training.
12. Embrace the worst.
There are times during your training when everything goes wrong. You’ll get lost on a long trail run, you’ll fall on your face and bang up your knees and elbows while running down a rocky mountain, you’ll lose golf ball after golf ball under leaves and in the cactus fields, or you’ll get to the pool psyched for your swim only to find the pool is closed.
Just a few of the frustrations I’ve experienced lately!
Some days all your training and workout plans go your way and then, well, some days they don’t. You’ll learn from those days and really appreciate when things go smoothly.
This may seem like a strange training tip but studies show that smiling puts you in a better mood. Let’s say you’re a runner and you’re having a tough race. Relaxing your face and smiling will start the process of getting yourself back on track. Try it and see for yourself!
Don’t forget to reward yourself after months of dedication to a training goal. And if others have been supporting you along the way, have them join the celebration too. Rarely do we reach some physical fitness goal, whether it’s running a race, getting into better shape, or enjoying a hiking and biking vacation, without the help and support of others, so they’ll enjoy the celebration too.