January is here! Let me guess, you’ve over indulged, have lost track of what day it is, feel unfit and are looking forward to getting back into a routine? So here is what you are probably thinking ‘I want to eat less food, do more training and be awesome!’ With going back to work this is all going to be a bit of a shock to the system but it’s the new year and you are motivated to get results, so you layer on the new technical gear Santa brought you and head out for a run or ride! While the first few training sessions might feel sluggish the release of endorphin’s and satisfaction from making a new start will be highly motivating. This motivation might drive you to push harder or go further than is necessary. Then it hits you, the early starts, rapid increase in training volume and change in diet weakens your immune system and you get ill or injured. So here is my suggestion for a triathlete’s new year’s resolution:
‘Make it to February without illness or injury.’
Perhaps this doesn’t seem very ambitious, but unless you are racing abroad it is unlikely that your ‘A’ race is any time soon. If you make it through January without setback then it is likely that you have settled into a sustainable routine balancing work, family and training without over stressing your body. You have now laid a healthy foundation to move forward.
Here is a few tips help the endurance enthusiast make it through January:
Divert your motivation – Instead of putting all your drive into achieving ultimate fitness. Why not focus on something that doesn’t get your attention during the racing season. DIY? Work commitments? Other hobbies? This might allow you to free up more time in the spring and summer for training and racing.
Benchmarks – Try not to compare your current fitness with where you were at the end of the summer, or even at the beginning of December. Instead think back to how you compare to last January. You have a season of events under your belt, many training sessions, many miles and many experiences (positive and negative). Your starting point this year is likely much stronger than that of last year.
Diet – Now we are in January you probably shouldn’t count cranberry sauce as one of your five a day. But that doesn’t mean you should try and survive on vegetable juice and chia seeds until you shift any festive weight. Before implementing any diet change ask yourself, ‘is this sustainable through February and beyond?’ If the answer is ‘no’ then I would suggest looking for a more balanced solution. Give your body the micro and macro nutrients it needs to handle your training and lifestyle.
Sleep & Recovery – Your body needs time to absorb your training and recover ready for the next session. Try to establish a routine in January that gives you enough sleep & rest. If you are not getting enough now it is unlikely you will cope well with increased training volume come spring.
Try to avoid being ‘awesome’ in January. Instead try to be consistent and patient then come race season, you will be AWESOME!