We all have time constraints, and as its still getting dark so early, fitting in the training isn’t getting any easier. It is all too easy to miss a day or two, and then something else comes up and whoops! – it’s a week since you last did anything.
There is, of course, very little of significance in the way of competition, except for county cross-country events, so it is not a total disaster if you miss a few days. However, your coach is our conscience, and your coach says – the more time you miss now, the harder it will be to come back. If you do nothing much now, you will be trying to catch up in March, when the weather is at its worst, so here are a few suggestions.
- Try to do something active at least twice a week. This will make sure that you don’t lose too much fitness.
- Check your weight at least once a week, on the same set of scales. Putting on two pounds at this time of year does not matter, but putting on five or six pounds does, so watch your intake.
- Even if you have not got time to go for a run or visit the gym, you can try to put more exercise into the day by walking more and walking faster and by running up stairs instead of using the lift. In New York there is a record for running to the top of the Empire State – is there a record for your office building?
- Racing once a week will keep you fit, so why not do a Park Run on Saturday mornings? Just log onto to www.parkrun.com and you will be able to join a family of 13,000 runners who are running at 9.a.m.every Saturday morning in one of 100 venues around the country.
- You can add to your fitness programme by doing ten minutes of exercises, four or five times a week, either first thing in the morning or just before going to bed. Choose 8 exercises – sit-ups, push-ups, trunk-circling, toe-touching, arm-swinging, half-squats, leg-raises and side-bends – and spend about minute on each, then add two minutes of skipping or bounding – fast vigorous exercise. This is not a substitute for a thirty-minute running or cycling session, but it will maintain your fitness.
If you are really short of time, the best session is: 5 minutes warm-up, ten time one minute fast run one minute jog, and five minutes warm-down.
What you should try to do is anchor your two or three minimum exercise sessions into the weekly programme. The best way is to get up early on a Saturday or Sunday morning and put in a 50-60 minute session of running or cycling. Another scheme is to have a regular lunchtime date to run or spend half an hour in the gym on a Wednesday. You are far more likely to keep it up if you have a commitment to other people. If you have made a commitment to a spring marathon, try to keep up a one hour run once a week, so that you don’t lose it totally.
Having said all that, the guiding principle is that exercise should add to your enjoyment of life, not diminish it. So don’t turn down your social pleasures, just work a bit harder the next day!