This message resonated with so many of us this week that I thought what better “mantra” as we navigate the holiday season and close out the end of 2018 than staying consistent through the holiday seasons?!?
We know that consistency is the secret sauce.
We know that hanging out with consistency is what makes success what to hang out too.
We also know how busy this time of year is for everyone. Family events, work events, parties, shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping, vacations…it all piles up this time of the year and it doesn’t stop till after the New Year. That’s when we see the New Years Resolutions starting up and people trying to get back to where they were a few short months ago.
Instead of waiting till January to “start over” what if we were able to stay consistent through the holidays and go into the new year on track?
It begs the question…how do we stay consistent through the chaos and avoid getting to January 1 with setbacks?
Below are a few tips to help us make good choices and come out of these next couple months with a strong and healthy base…and maybe even ahead of where we are now.
- Set process goals – As athletes, it’s natural to set big goals for ourselves (lose weight, run a personal best, qualify for Boston, etc.). The trouble with this is the end result is a ways in the future and largely out of our control. The holiday season is a great time to focus on “process goals” — smaller, actionable goals we can check off our list each day that will help bring us closer to your big goals. Examples: workout for 30 minutes daily, get to bed by 10 every night, strength train three times each week, run three times each week…the list continues. Focus on executing your smaller , more manageable “process goals” during the holiday season, and you’ll be more likely to come out with a lot of check marks of the list instead of groaning about “getting back on track” in January.
- Grab a buddy! – The holidays are a great time to catchup with friends or make new STTC friends! Whether it’s someone close by who you can meet up with for a run or strength session, or a new online friend who will call you out when you’re slacking or encourage you when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed can make all the difference.
- Plan ahead and establish your routine – Running around to holiday parties, visiting friends and traveling to see family can make it easy to fall out of rhythm, but establishing a consistent weekly routine you follow can help keep you on track amid the chaos. Assign a specific focus to each day of the week—even the rest days—and plan ahead when you will get in your run and strength sessions. No exceptions, no excuses.
- Crank up the intensity once or twice a week – Sticking to a speed work schedule can be tough at the end of the year. Many runners use that as an excuse to log only easy miles until the chaos calms down and they are able to focus on it again. But without our consistent speed work, our pace starts to fall and once again, we’re back to where we started. Instead of putting it off till later, crank up the intensity of one (or two if your average weekly mileage is high enough) of your running workouts with fast interval session on the roads or a progression run on the treadmill. These types of workouts break up the monotony of running easy all the time and they give our fitness level a quick boost and set us up to start the new year off in better shape than ever before!
- Plan ahead – Traveling to visit family or friends and not being sure when you’ll be able to run or work out can throw us off track. A missed workout here and there and all of a sudden it’s been a week, two weeks, then three weeks! Planning ahead can stop this spiral. When traveling, do research ahead of time and scope out popular running routes where you’ll be heading, or confirm that your hotel or host family has a treadmill or workout area you can take advantage of . Let those you’re visiting (or that are visiting you) know ahead of time you’re planning to work out. Even encourage them to join you! If you announce your intentions ahead of time, it will create the time and space you need, but it will also create an added level of accountability to actually get off the couch.
- Avoid temptation and practice moderation – It’s easy to get carried away at a loaded buffet table, which is why it’s important to know what you’re in for and plan ahead prior to holiday happy hours, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and work parties, etc… Avoid the temptation to overdo it when the options in front of you are plenty. It’s ok to splurge on drinks and dessert every once in a while but don’t let it become a regular habit. Going to two parties on the same night? Eat dinner at the first and save room for dessert at the next. Finding a healthy balance is the easiest way to sidestep the lure of holiday food. There’s no need to completely deny yourself of all your favorite foods. Just don’t go overboard. Being able to practice moderation–small doses of what you love–will let you enjoy the season without feeling guilty.
- Adopt at at-home workout plan – This is easy for us because our plan is already laid out right in front of us–no gym needed! You don’t have to think about what to do, when to do it or how often…the entire plan is right in front of us. Regular workouts we can swap out to keep things fresh, exercises that require little to no equipment and videos with your #CoreCrew family to follow along with. Heck, we even have pdfs to print out and take with us when we don’t have internet access or don’t want to spend time trying to find what we need when we’re on the go. Don’t make it harder than it has to be…follow the plan and you can’t go wrong.
- Go easy on the alcohol – Catching up with friends over a cold pint or sharing a bottle of wine with family from out of town is a fun way to celebrate the season, but excessively imbibing over a short period of time is one of the main reasons people pack on unwanted pounds. Limit yourself to one drink at holiday gatherings when you have a workout planned for the next day or plan ahead and get your tough workouts done ahead of time.
- Create a ritual – One of the best ways to start any kind of habit is to create a ritual around the habit you want to create. Working out is no different. Maybe you want to work out first thing in the morning before you go to work every weekday. You might create a ritual where every morning before work, you get up, eat a small breakfast while listening to the morning radio, go for a short run, then do a strength workout. The idea is to get your mind and body so used to including a workout in your morning routine (or whatever time of day you like to work out) so you no longer have to think about it—it just comes naturally to you.
- Put it on your calendar – A great way to make sure your workouts are ingrained in your schedule is to simply put them on the calendar—just as you would any other appointment. For example, if you want to commit to working out three days a week, choose the days—let’s say Monday, Wednesday and Friday—and put them in your calendar or phone for a scheduled time with a reminder. Treat them just as you would any other appointment. If something comes up, you can reschedule your workout but you don’t want to let this be a common occurrence. Just as you’d never just skip or forget an important meeting or your kid’s soccer game, this keeps you from skipping your workout or forgetting to work out altogether. You know those nights when you sit down and then it pops in your head, “dang I never got my workout in” and it’s too late and you have no energy and POOF the day is gone.
- STOP MAKING EXCUSES – People make all kinds of excuses for not working out—they’re on vacation, they’re sick, too sore, too busy, they’re too tired. Traveling? You can still work out, even if all you have is a hotel room. Tired? Exercise will boost your energy, so get up and get it done anyway. Busy? No doubt you’ve got an extra 10-15 minutes—and you could probably use a break from your hectic schedule to exercise and take some time to yourself anyway. The solution is simple: stop making excuses.
- Don’t quit. Never quit.
November Challenge: Consistency
Consistency is key so we are sticking with the Strength Running Injury Prevention Program. Below are the routines we are already familiar with along with the number of times they should be done each week and a link to a STTC video to follow along with. You can find pdf copies of each routine in our STTC private group files.
We have more strength routines to add into the rotation over the next few weeks. The schedule is yours to make. Plan ahead for your week. Schedule your workout time in advance. Plan for enough time after a run to get in some strength work before showering and getting ready for your day. Write your plan into your calendar so it is scheduled just like any other important appointment.
Consistency = Success
The more active and accountable you are in our Strong to the Core group, the more likely you are to stay consistent with your workouts. You may not have much time to be online in STTC with so much else going and sometimes feeling the need to post and comment can be overwhelming. Instead of backing away altogether and losing your support system, grab a buddy and make a commitment of consistency to each other. Check in with each other and post when you can but don’t worry about being as active in the group. Find what works for you, your schedule and your upcoming plans. If you are traveling, print out the pdfs and take them with you. Most of our workouts do not require any equipment and can be done anywhere!
- IT Band Routine OR Stiletto Routine – 3X per week
- Tomahawk Routine OR Standard Core Routine – 3X per week
- Nike/Runners World Arm Strength – 3X per week
- Chakram Routine AND/OR Sand Routine – 2x-3x per week (these are very quick workouts that you can add in as much as you want!)
Y’all will hear me talk about consistency a lot this month. I can already see some eye rolls and sighs…that’s ok I know you’ll still love me when it’s over and it’s going to be worth it!
Let’s start by grabbing our November buddy and coming up with 2-3 process (small and manageable) goals that we can set for this month. It can be anything fitness, workout, meal planning, sleeping, etc… Post or share with your buddy and let’s help each other stay consistent through the holidays and come out on target and feeling great!