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Happy New Year! The holidays are over and the death grip on your free time and energy that has probably made exercise a bit more challenging over the past six weeks is gone. While it’s one of the most wonderful times of the year, the parties, food and family obligations that often overload us during the late months of the year can certainly make running a challenge. The cold doesn’t help, either!
Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who can’t wait to jump right back into things on January 1. But if you’re struggling to pick up the pieces of your shattered health and fitness routine, don’t despair—you’re not alone. It isn’t always that simple, especially when there are still decorations to be put away, leftover champagne to drink (just kidding—there’s never leftover champagne), and maybe a few extra pounds weighing you down. It’s not impossible, though!
If you’re struggling, try the following:
It can be tempting to try to force yourself back in to the swing of things right away, but if you’ve taken a lengthy break (mentally or physically) from your routine, it’s best to start small. You don’t have to go out and hit a hard speed workout right away or power through a long run. Go out for a short run or walk and just remind yourself of how good running feels, then build from there.
Look at your schedule
I find that one of the things that helps me the most is looking at my schedule for the week and seeing when I do and do not have time to run, then planning accordingly. If I know I can’t run on certain days of the week, I’m more likely to push myself out of bed on the days when I can.
Download an app for some inspiration
If you’ve ever worked with a running coach or even followed a training plan, you know how nice it is to just be told what to do without having to think about it on days when you feel overwhelmed. If you don’t have the money for a coach or the motivation to come up with a plan on your own, consider downloading an app like Aaptiv, which offers a 7-day free trial. On days when I don’t want to get out of bed, knowing that someone will tell me what to do is one less hurdle to overcome.
Pick a realistic goal
It can be tough to train for races in winter! Picking a fun but realistic spring race goal is a great way to add some extra encouragement without putting on too much pressure. Try out a race you’ve never done before (bonus points if it involves traveling to somewhere warm).
Keep it up
Remember that something is better than nothing, and consistency is key. Reestablishing the habit is the hardest part! So make an effort to do some form of exercise (any exercise!) for a given amount of time a certain number of days per week and then stick to it. The rest of your healthy habits are likely to follow!