So we’ve “Got Honest & Got On It” to set our goals. Go us! We decided what we really wanted to achieve [insert your personal goal that you’re really motivated by, here]. Lots of us are training for a Spring Marathon or cycling sportive. We’re excited and giving it a go. Annoyingly it’s so easy to get carried away in early enthusiasm, overdo it and get injured or burned out.
How to avoid mistakes
So this is advice how to avoid some classic mistakes. Maybe you’ve made them yourself already. I definitely have, that’s how I know about most of them! Maybe you’ll be clever enough to avoid them. Whatever your goal, this is how to stay on track, learning from mine and others’ mistakes, so you don’t have to!
Don’t be unrealistic – Be honest
You’ve identified the goal you really want to go for. You also should know what your time available to train is. So if you can only find 3 hours a week to train, don’t sign up to a 10 hour per week plan and then feel disappointed you can’t do it!
Don’t just make it up – Do schedule
It’s much easier mentally to go and train when you know what the session is in advance. No wondering what to do, or talking yourself out of it. Just lace up/ saddle up and get out there!
Don’t neglect yourself – Do stretch & sleep
Great, you’ve done a 10 mile run / 20 mile cycle, you’re fit, you deserve a rest, you can sit down. Of course, just try not to stay in your chair for 12 hours straight. Do move around, stretch, and even better, get a regular sports massage. This will all help recover your tired muscles and prevent injury. Sleep is genuinely helpful too!
Don’t give up – Give it a go
Maybe you thought you’d love running or cycling. Maybe you’re not enjoying it right now. Have a think if you could make it more enjoyable – could you train with others; at a different time of day; in better kit? Are you really dedicated to your goal? Give it a good go, so you don’t regret stopping too soon.
When I started out, I didn’t used to enjoy running til after 40 minutes. My husband told me during training for his first marathon that he’d ‘definitely stop running’, and that turned out to be some 15 years and 20 marathons ago!
Don’t just run – record & reflect
You don’t need a hugely fancy watch, but writing down how far/ long you ran or cycled, and how you felt, is really useful. Do write it as soon as you can or it’s really hard to remember if it was 20 or 30 minutes, how your body felt…
Try recording what will help you remember. Mine have got a whole range from getting soaked, to seeing a dog in a reflective jacket, to buying a great croissant at the end of a session! You can use your diary to spot a potential injury if an ache isn’t going away. And you’ll love being able to look back later and see how far you’ve come.