Regardless of whether you are training for a 5k, 10k, marathon, triathlon, ironman or you are just working out to stay in shape, it’s important to have a plan and to know your goals. If you are training for a race, the goal is easy. If not, you might have to think about it a little more. Is your goal to lose weight? Build muscle? Feel better? Be healthier? Once you have the goal in mind, it’s easy to set yourself up for success through a routine. The trick is making sure that routine works for you!
When I started training for my tri, I didn’t really know where to start, so I went to http://www.beginnertriathlete.com and made myself a free workout plan based on when my race was, how long it was, my “experience” and how many workouts I wanted to do per week. It gave me a good idea of what I needed to do and I plotted everything out on a calendar in a way that I thought would work.
But as you know, life happens. Meetings with clients, dinners with friends and other events popped up that I would let “get in the way” of my training. Once you start skipping workouts on your plan, it’s all over. You realize that there’s no immediate penalty for not following “the plan.” At least not until race day is approaching and you start to feel that you aren’t prepared or worse, on race day when you know you aren’t ready.
Luckily, the race I’d picked to be my first was short enough that I could have loafed my way through most of my workouts and still crossed the finish line. The experience of my initial workout routine taught me to be a little less finite in my plan and a little more flexible.
Now, I know that, for me, having a great workout day on Monday can “make” my week. On Tuesday, I’ll take it a little easier (at least cardio-wise) with a strength workout. On Wednesdays, I typically have the time in the afternoon to go for a long run (right now 5+ miles, hopefully increasing every week). On Thursdays, I need to dig deep so that on Fridays I can take it a little easier before a rest day on Saturday and a nice bike ride on Sundays.
That is, of course, “the plan.” I feel good knowing that on most weeks, that will work for me. When I know that something will come up that will get in the way, I try to shift things around to maintain some semblance of the plan. The key there is to stay motivated.
As you’ve probably already learned that when I have a plan, I like to stick to it. When I can’t stick to my plan, sometimes “everything” goes awry. It’s something I’m working through. I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t handle a change in their plans well… ah well, that will have to be another post.
I supposed I’m wrapping this one up now saying that it’s good to keep your workout goals in mind then set yourself up for success with an appropriate plan. Stay motivated and know that there are consequences for not sticking to your plan, but they’ll show up when you least want them to. Do what works for you!