In just two days my latest streak will be complete. Seriously, barring me falling down the stairs here under the Big Top and breaking something…god, please, no…I imagine running a mile or two tomorrow and Sunday will be easy-peasy. I’ve managed to run 93 miles so far every day since Thanksgiving Day so how hard can a couple more…or a couple more than that be?
I’m proud of my running this year even if I did miss out on the one planned endurance event that I trained so hard for. That was almost as frustrating as when I fractured my hip but I managed to rebound, albeit a little less intense, still I did get up and running again. Money, or the lack thereof kept me away from the races and the bling that I have grown to love but thank goodness I am still running. I think what helped was finding new and much less expensive ways to keep me motivated…like signing on for the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak Challenge or revisiting the Couch to 5K program.
So now as the year and the running streak challenge comes to an end what next? How about another challenge? A new goal? As a rule I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. There’s too much of a set-up for failing in my opinion. But it is time to begin a new personal challenge…and it is time to begin a new year.
Diet and fitness experts agree the best way to kick start one’s fitness and diet goals is to start off with a plan. Lay it out what you’re going to do before you start. Waiting until Monday, January 2 to get fitter or healthier or drop 20 pounds is going to make it all the harder. So now is the time to start with a plan. For me, the plan was to set the next fitness challenge and to mix it up a little because I do get bored easy. For me the next month is all about pushups and planks…UGH! Hate planks…hate them I do but by month’s end I will be planking all over the place stronger than ever. I’m also moving past the C25K program to the next level using the Bridge to 10K program. I know it seems like a leap back after running 5 half marathons in 2010 but this last year’s running setbacks gave me an opportunity to get back to the basics and there is nothing wrong with a little basic training…nothing at all. After January 2012 who knows what the next goal will be…maybe shredding again with Jillian or maybe…who knows? For now I am focused on my plan for the first 31 days of 2012. Other things to consider when making your diet and fitness plans for this year are:
- cleaning out the refrigerator and pantry – get rid of all the holiday food, the sugary, fatty, empty calories and fill them up with easy, simple foods like frozen veggies, fruits, low-fat dairy so that you can make quick, low calorie snacks and meals any time of any day.
- monitor your weight – Don’t have a scale? Get one now before January 2. Typically I am not a fan of scales but the latest findings of those who have lost a lot of weight and kept it off is they do monitor their weight…some even on a daily basis. Personally I step on the scale once a week. I confess I don’t care much for the number I see but I ignore that. What I look for is that it doesn’t change in an upward fashion week to week. During my holiday running streak, in spite of my usual gorging on holiday yummy goodness, that number has not changed at all. but besides the scale, monitor your weight by how your clothes fit. Pick out that one pair of jeans, you know, the “skinny” jeans in the back of your closet and use that also to monitor changes in your size. For me, especially during winter months I try to stay in jeans. It’s very easy to not notice increasing inches and pounds in those stretchy yoga pants but in my jeans, well there it is everyday for me to see. I’m happy to say that I needed to add a new notch in my belt which makes me happy in spite of that number on the scale.
- get enough sleep – UGH! I imagine I will always struggle with this one. Oh the joys of shift work. Still getting enough sleep is so very important for the health and well-being of us all.
- eat breakfast – Yes, here is another problem for me. But it doesn’t have to be a huge meal. All one needs is around 200 calories to start the day – a bowl of oatmeal with some fruit or even a skim milk latte – just something to get you going.
- load up on the veggies and fruits and decrease the simple carbs…yes, the easy, go-to, vending machine type carbs…sigh!
- cut out or limit the alcohol…sigh! I only half joke that I run so that I can drink wine but if I were to limit it more so I am quite certain that number I hate on the scale would decrease. Yeah.
- eat at home – thanks to changes in menus here in California I can now know that the meal I have ordered when eating out is 1,700 calories and the dessert I was eyeing is 1,800 more calories…hurray! Besides the fact that we can’t afford to eat out much at all these days here under the Big Top, this is one of the reasons why I enjoy less eating out…another would be the serious lack of decent restaurant choices here in my neck of the woods.
- establish a support network – nothing like a little, or a lot of good old fashioned accountability to keep you motivated whether it is short term fitness goals or a big time New Year’s resolution. For me hooking up with the Shredheads nearly three years ago was the kick starter. There I have made friendships and connections that have kept me motivated all this time. Get connected with a buddy, a small group an online community…whatever fits best for you but get connected. You need this. You might not need it January 2nd when you are hitting the ground running or even two weeks later but at some point you are going to be discouraged, frustrated, sore, tired or just plain not motivated; that is when you your support, your buddy, your tribe kicking you in the ass to get a move on now.
- reward yourself – There is nothing like a little reward for meeting short term goals as you work towards whatever your big goal is. This month I came across a great idea on Pinterest that I am already doing. I already have a few bucks or more saved up and come March I am hoping for perhaps a spa day with the money I have earned.
So call it another streak or a resolution or a goal but I have a plan for January 2012:
- I have cleaned out the pantry, refrigerator and freezer and re-stocked it with simpler, cleaner, more nutritionally sound foods to fuel up with.
- I will run at least 3 days a week logging 3-5 miles each run.
- I will work up to 100 pushups in one setting by January 31.
- I will work up to 10 one-minute perfect planks by January 31.
- I will set my next goal for February before January comes to an end
- I will continue, as always, to work on my self respect