Saturday, January 10, 2015

On Resolutions

I wrote this blog post on New Year's Eve, then got too busy at work to post it, and then got too busy in the following week to remember that I hadn't posted it in the first place, so, at long last... a little something on resolutions.

As 2014 draws to a close and I head in to another 24-hour pediatric inpatient call, I think about how the reflections that occur on this night lead everyone to set lofty goals for the following year. Is it because you party too hard, drink a little too much, and eat too many indulgences on New Year's Eve that you wake up the next day wanting to start fresh in the new year? Whatever the reason, this blog has just a few tips for setting and sticking to those New Year’s resolutions.
Violet helping Mommy do her kettle
bells workout. And you can see our
cat, too. Everyone wants in on my
strength workout! I've got my fitness
buddies to hold me accountable!

1. Set goals that are attainable but make you make quality changes.

My goal for 2015 is to make fitness and health a priority as my daughter gets older and things escalate at work with work + boards studying. My second goal is to strength train at least 3 sessions a week. My third goal is to not beat myself up if I don't exercise every single day because sometimes sleep or getting to see my child for a few minutes is more important. I hate it, but she teaches me balance every day, and she's making me a better person minute by minute! I still haven't decided if there will be another Ironman in 2015 or not yet, but something tells me Violet is going to make me a better Ironman, too!

2. Find people that can keep you going and keep your training smart and healthy. 

If motivation is your problem, then find someone who will either do things with you or who will hold you accountable for your goals. Use a Garmin virtual training partner, train and chart nutrition with friends on apps like Myfitnesspal, find a fitness class or a running, cycling, or swimming group! Start a blog, start an email chain, tell people at work or who you will see every day, post it on Facebook. Make sure people know and will ask you about your progress toward your goal. 

If over-motivation and over-training and injuries tend be your problem, get smart about things (see #3), or find someone who can give you a consistent and safely tailored program that you will follow. Better yet, finally shuck out the cash for a high-quality personal trainer (Shameless plug to contact my husband who is just that!) or a coach for your desired sport to keep you on track. Don't think you have the money? How much did you spend on lattes and ordering take-out last month? You probably do! Give it a try!

3. Don't go from couch to 20-miler in the first week.

Violet doing her baby yoga.

You keep your friendly Sports docs and Orthopedists busy with crazy shenanigans and weekend warrior workouts, BUT, keep in mind that fitness is a life-long journey, and you arent going to lose 20 pounds or train for a marathon or run a 6-minute-mile, or whatever your goal is, all in one day. If you can do your goal in one day, you didn’t set a year resolution; you set a day one! Trying to go nuts in January is only going to make you give up by the end of the month, either out of pure exhaustion or injury, so be practical, make a plan, stay consistent, and listen to your body.

4. Set miniature goals along the way to help you stay on track toward your larger goal.

If your larger goal is to run a marathon in 2015, try some shorter races first, and find a quality program that helps you have adequate tempo and long-slow-distance runs as well as rest and cross-training days. If you haven't been running at all, don't think you can run every day for the same intensity and distance without varying your workouts, taking rest or cross-training days, or strength-training. This kind of thinking leads to overuse injuries such as stress fractures. All components are necessary! Especially the strength training.

5. Athleticism and fitness is more than just cardio!

You need to incorporate flexibility and strengthening exercises into your workout routine, and variety and cross-training also help. You can't just run every day. See #4. 

I wrote this lovely advice for you guys about not going over the top with training, but what did I do the very same day I wrote this post? I ran 5 miles because I was so psyched that I had met my goal from September (when I started knee rehab) to be running again by January. It may have been a bit much for my knee, but my spirit was soaring. But at least I have learned the lesson of making strength training a priority! Baby steps, for this mom with a baby.

So I know where you are coming from, but resist the temptation and play it smart, or injuries may have you not playing at all! Train hard, train often, but train smart. There is no short path to fitness; it is a lifelong and enjoyable journey, which is why I started this blog. Our next series will be on basic physical health topics, and I hope you will enjoy them! Stay tuned for a great 2015, and keep going with those goals!

On deck...
-skincare for athletes
-foot health
-spine health
-finding balance