Even with the best intentions to get in shape or drop some weight, statistics show very few New Year’s resolutions actually work. According to Time Magazine, 60 percent of gym memberships go unused and attendance is usually back to normal by mid-February, which indicates resolutions are not being kept.
“I see it every year,” says Team Challenge National Coach Dave McGovern. “People really do want to keep their new year’s resolutions, but they just don’t know how.”
Team Challenge is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s endurance training and fundraising program. Participants will be coached through half-marathon or triathalon training while helping to find a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, two chronic and often debilitating digestive diseases that impact 1.4 million Americans. Below are Coach Dave’s top five tips for sticking with your new year’s resolution:
Create one, specific goal
Whether it’s to lose a certain amount of weight, to walk or run 5-6 days per week, or to complete a 10k or half-marathon, having a specific goal is a great way to stay focused. Make sure your goals are ambitious, but attainable for you with a bit of hard work and persistence.
Make small changes and don’t overdo it
The human body is very adaptable, and it’s designed to move. The key to starting a running or walking program is to make gradual changes to your current situation. Start by walking 15-20 minutes 3-4 days per week. Gradually increase the time you walk, and if you want to run, start adding a few minutes of running at a time, interspersed with 2-3 minute walk breaks. Over time increase the duration of the running segments and decrease the time of the recovery walks.
Track your progress in a training log
It’s a new year. Get a calendar, special book or use an online workout tracker like endomondo.com or mapmyrun.com. Record your workouts every day, even if you take the day off. Track your mileage, how you feel, what you eat, how much you sleep, and anything else that has an effect on your training. Then—and this is important—go back and read your diary from time to time. If things are going well, continue with the same plan. If you’re going through a bad patch, try to sort out what might be the cause, such as increasing your mileage too quickly, insufficient rest, poor diet, etc.
Tell others about your goal
When family, friends and co-workers take an interest in your goal and ask how your weekend long run went; do you want to tell them you ran farther than you’ve ever gone before, or that you finished off a bag of donuts while watching the Real Housewives Marathon? Accountability keeps you honest. Social media is a great way to update friends and family of your progress.
Make it fun!
Training with others, varying your training routes, and rewarding yourself after milestone workouts are great ways to make your training more enjoyable. Finding creative ways to make your workouts fun is the key to sticking to your goal into February and beyond!
“I ran six days a week and followed the Team Challenge training schedule to the letter,” says Regina Orelli. “I was certainly not a runner when I started, but I stuck with the program and got encouragement from my teammates. Two summers ago, I completed my first Half Marathon in Kona, Hawaii! It was a miracle! Not only that I was able to run 13.1 miles, but that I was in Hawaii and I was 65 pounds lighter!”
Team Challenge has 10 events scheduled for 2013, including six domestic half marathons, two international half marathons and two triathlon events in places like California’s wine country and Chicago.