No matter what you celebrate, unless you went full Grinch in the last 2 months, it’s safe to say that the holiday season had an impact on your training. For some of us, that impact might have been some vacation time to get our and train more than normal. But for the majority of us, the holiday season meant extra calories, stress and time away from our standard routine. Either way, the first weeks of the year not only set the tone for the remainder of our off season, but also for our biggest races of the year. Here are some of our tips to get a quick reboot and keep it going all year long.
Leave Your Guilt in the Past
Ok, so you had an extra piece of pie you didn’t really NEED. It happens to all of us! The over indulgence that comes with the holiday season can happen to all of us. But feeling regret in 2017 for the extra cookies you had in 2016 won’t un-eat those cookies! Far too often this regret leads to continued bad habits which further the regret and on goes the vicious cycle. Focus instead on what lies ahead rather than what is already in the past.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Yes this even applies to the most dedicated of sprint specialists. And no, we’re not talking about your training (well sort of). What we mean is any changes and actions you take should have the long term goal in mind whenever practical. Sure going on a super restricted diet or over zealous training plan will have greater short term results. But take a second to think if that change is a sustainable and healthy one for the entire year. Not keeping this in mind is what leads many people to have a stellar January and be repeating their December come February! So remember to pace yourself and make changes that will last longer than a trial gym membership.
Set Progressive, Not “Ultimate” Goals
It’s always easier to just imagine of the end result than it is to think of all the work it will take to get there. Thinking about becoming Olympic or World Champion is far more glamorous than envisioning 1,460 individual days between Olympic years, full of the hard work and sacrifice required to get there. The same holds true for envisioning that 15lb weight loss you’ve wanted, compared to the time it will take to shed each individual pound at a time. This is why we encourage setting progressive and not ultimate goals. Break everything down in to incremental and attainable goals. If you want to loose 10lbs by Memorial Day (5 months away), think of it as 2lb/month or 0.5lb/week. That way you can focus on the small and attainable goals while having the confidence that you’re on track to achieve the big goal when you wanted to.
Embrace What You’ve Been Avoiding
What’s that one thing you just keep avoiding that you know you need to do? It could be anything from cutting back on your sugar intake, getting to be earlier, completing your daily training log feedback, or even doing your dreaded ROLLER WORKOUT!!! Whatever that one thing is, now is the time to stop avoiding it and embracing it. This is especially important for the championship orientated athletes. If it’s on your training program, it’s not optional! We’ve all been guilty at one point or another of avoiding some part of training that we didn’t like. Probably because it’s one of our weaknesses! So unless you want that weakness to follow you around for another year, now is the time to make an adjustment and stop avoiding the things you know you need to be doing. The sooner you embrace them, the sooner they’ll become less painful and more favorable.
Get Started NOW!
“I’ll get back on my food plan, after this one last cheat meal.”
“I’ll start doing my feedback after I get a good week of training.”
“I’ll start “X” tomorrow.”
What are you waiting for?!? Stop procrastinating and make a change today, right now. It doesn’t have to be an earth shattering change of cleaning out the entire fridge and starting new. Start simple with little things like having water with your next meal instead of soda or alcohol. Get in bed 15min earlier than last night instead of trying to fall asleep 2 hours early. Complete your training log feedback even if you didn’t train. Start small but stay consistent. Getting the ball rolling today will lead to greater momentum tomorrow and every day after that. The grass will always seem greener tomorrow than it is today. But there really is no time like the present.
Achieve Big, Reward Small
Rewarding yourself for a job well done is an essential part of the pathway to your goals. Too big or too frequent of rewards, and we fall off track. Too small or too seldom of rewards, and we lose motivation for our goals. That’s why having an healthy ratio of achievement to rewards will pay off in the long run. Hit a new squat PR at the end of a strength block: enjoy a beer at dinner. Not a wild weekend of partying that leaves you hungover till the following Wednesday. Hit your weight loss goal for the month: have a piece of cake with dinner. Not the entire cake in 1 sitting. Just barely missed your weight loss goal even though you stuck to your foods and training all month: have that piece of chocolate you’ve been missing and make adjustments to next month’s plan.
The specific instances in our advice above are not going to hold true for every single person. Focus instead on the concepts of the ideas outlined to help kickstart your 2017. We’re already 3 days in to the year so that’s nearly 1% of the year gone! Make the other 99% count by making healthy changes and/or keeping your good habits from last year going strong all 2017 long!