independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Don't lose the run of yourself in new year

The Fit City Series start in Phoenix Park 2013

At the beginning of every year, people come up with new resolutions and it's always good to make a fresh start. Behind every resolution or goal is a desire for a real and permanent change. I have no doubt that a lot of people's wish for 2014 is to become healthier and fitter.

A great way to help you maintain and achieve your goal is to have a plan. If you are planning to run a 5k in March make sure you know how you're going to achieve your goal. Beginners can use the Couch-to-5k programme that will take you from not running at all to completing your first 5k race.

I have met so many people over the last couple of years who got into running using the programme and they are very serious about their running now.

Some people find it helpful to tell their families and friends what their plans are and what they want to accomplish. This can encourage and motivate you to stick to your routine knowing you have family support.

Stick with your running goal for one month. You can turn a new behaviour into a habit by doing it for 30 days in a row. Once February comes you will be proactive about reaching that new level of fitness.

You can succeed in your goals by implementing simple changes in your daily routine. I spend about one hour running every day but I feel I gain an hour because I get so much work done and my mind is clear for the day ahead.

Picking new year's resolutions that are not realistic is setting yourself up for failure. Your chances of achieving your goals are much better if they're realistic.

It's always fun and inspiring to dream but break your goals up to make them more manageable and realistic. Don't try to change a lot of different things at once; focus on a few key goals and the steps you need to take to reach them.

If you have a really ambitious new year's resolution, such as running a marathon, make sure you have smaller goals along the way too. It will help keep you focused and prevent you from getting discouraged. Write out a plan for achieving your goals and keep a diary of your training runs. This will help keep you motivated because you can look back and see the progress you have made.

At the start of each week, plan the days and times you are going to exercise and, if it's possible, organise to meet up with a group as you will learn more about running and they will also help to keep you motivated.

The most difficult part is getting out the door and, if it is raining, you will need to summon some extra willpower. Remember you can only get so wet, you will feel great afterwards and you will be content that you are sticking to your plan.

I know I always seem to be talking about running in my articles and, unlike me, not everyone likes to run. But there are many sports that you can take up to make you healthier and fitter this year. Also, don't underestimate the importance of a good brisk walk in the fresh air. It can do wonders for your mind and body.

My new year's resolution is to manage my time better so that I am not rushing around the place all day every day. I hope I can stick to it. Wishing you a very healthy, happy and fit 2014.

www.catherinamckiernan.com

Irish Independent

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