I am one of those guys that isn’t genetically cut out for endurance sports. I have a very square body type with large shoulders. Historically, I’d be the guy on the battlefield swinging a huge sword… probably not the skinny little guy running from one city to the next to take a message to the king.
So here we are in modern day – why would a guy like me train for a marathon? or a half ironman? I’m not entirely sure but I know that I like the fact that it is a challenge. If it were easy, everyone would do it. The other thing – I LIKE to train. I do not like to exercise.
WTF? Like to train but does not like to exercise? The differentiator for me is the goal. Run on a treadmill for an hour for exercise and you may or may not lose any weight… not motivational for me at all. I could work really hard and go to the gym every day to exercise. The scale and even my body fat percentage might not go anywhere. Not very motivational and ultimately why exercise doesn’t work well for me. Here’s how I suggest making it happen
STEP 1: Pick a Race. Training on the other hand has a more clear goal: Complete an event on a a specific day. The goal should be a big one for you, but don’t be afraid to start small. It could be as simple as “do a 5k on this date” or complete a sprint triathlon on this date. The point is to get a goal out there. I would encourage not only picking an event – but REGISTERING for it ahead of time. Once you’re locked in you will have more motivation to complete the training to do it.
STEP 2: Get a training plan. Once you have your race and you’ve registered, figure out how to get there. For running, I’m a big fan of www.HalHigdon.com, If you are just starting, check out the coach to 5k web site: www.c25k.com. Get the plan and get started!
STEP 3: Start Training. You should find something different when you start this process. It’s a feeling that if you don’t do the training, you will not be prepared for the event. Keep your focus on the goal: completing your event. Especially this first time around, it’s ok to try to eat healthy, but don’t make the goal to lose weight.
Every person concerned with weight loss has been there: spend a bunch of hours in the gym and the scale won’t budge or worse gain weight. In my opinion, it’s better to have gotten more fit and healthy overall. At the end of any week, you can say “I’m on track and one week closer”
STEP 4: The Event. I’ll skip to the end. There is a good chance you didn’t win the race. There are likely lots of faster people out there, but that’s ok. YOU WON THE WAR. Look how far you’ve come. Take a minute to reflect on your training. Even if In just a couple months, you’ve become fitter! Could you have ridden 50 miles on your bike before? Could you have run a 5k, or half marathon? Think about it in those terms and realize your success!
STEP 5: After the Event. Plan your next event if you haven’t already. If you finished your first 5k, maybe do a couple more over the next 4 weeks and get a half marathon on the calendar. Pick one that builds on your progress and makes you go a little further.
I make a point to do events year round. As soon as I stop and just “train on my own” I will almost immediately find excuses to not exercise. For someone like me, the goal is very important and keeping the training up is very helpful.
STEP 6: At the end of the year – real reflection. Odds are that you have run a half marathon or have done several events. Think about the magnitude of how far you’ve come. In addition to completing X events and adding up the training log of Y miles ran, biked, and swam, you’ll also find a number of interesting results. You’ve definitely gotten fitter AND I would bet that you at least maintained your weight (which is awesome).