Article by Benita Willis: 4 x Olympian, Aussie marathon record holder, World Champion, Qrun manager & head coach at Lace Up Running.
It’s a strange year in many people’s lives and in some cases, has thrown our routine out the window for months! During this time, many of us have developed bad habits which have impacted our lifestyle. But the good news is we can reverse these changes in about a month give or take, depending on our motivation.
I was an elite athlete for 16 years and during this time, I found that structure and routine where huge factors in helping me maintain the workload required to achieve great success. But once we change our situation, whether it is lifestyle, relationship breakdowns or the current pandemic – we forget about the small things and gradually our daily routine goes out the window before we know it. Believe me, I have experienced this when I first retired and use this experience in my coaching and to help you too.
Below, I have listed a few things to focus on. No need to do everything at once but DO make a start because the longer you delay making a start (no matter how small) the longer you are away from getting your lifestyle and mojo back!
- Make a (small) start. What exercise do you like to do? Make a start with some small amounts of exercise and make time to do it each day. Could even be walking around your block each day, anything is better than nothing.
- Look at your eating, drinking and sleep habits. Have you been snacking or drinking more than usual? Studies say many of us have! Cut out one snack and one drink a week at first. Try to go to bed at the same time each night. SLEEP is as much value to you (if not more) than any superfood.
- Gradually progress your exercise. If you’re into running, why not look up some groups in your area and get down to a training session. All running groups (and any exercise providers) are following COVID-19 safe plans. Our group at Lace Up Running offers training group sessions (plus coffee after J) as well as online individualized plans. Something for everyone!
- Healthy catch ups with friends. Instead of meeting for coffee or a wine, why not go for a hike, jog or ride together? Being active with friends makes exercise seem fun plus it packs more into your day!
- Stick with it. Sometimes when we make lifestyle changes, we do them for a few days then they become too hard. It’s important to start with small changes and those you can maintain so you are consistent. I tell all my clients that consistency is key with any training program. If you’re starting an exercise program, I find that having a coach often helps! No need to do it all on your own.
- Set a goal for yourself. This could be a virtual race goal in this current environment (plenty around) or even a lifestyle goal. Write it down and give yourself enough time to prepare. Goals must always be individualized for YOU and not set by anyone else for you.
- Keep yourself accountable. This is really important. For some of us, it’s important to be doing our exercise in groups so you can be accountable but for others, it’s important to tell at least one person your goal.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s ok to have days where you don’t feel like doing anything – if this is the case take the day off and refocus for the next day. This is undoubtedly a hard period in our lives BUT often having a good daily routine and structure will help you feel better!
- Celebrate a goal achievement. Make sure you celebrate achieving your goal! Take some time out, enjoy your achievement then look to set another goal. Could be a short or long-term goal.
- Keep positive and adaptable. We know things are not the same as they were earlier in the year BUT focus on what you CAN do and your goals rather what you CAN’T. It’s so important to remain positive as this mentally allows you to do SO much more then you think. Good luck!