I’ve been doing this ‘active’ thing for quite a while now… since around mid 2008 when I decided I would make a change to be more active… eat better and be healthier. For over 10 years I’ve learned what I like and enjoy, and what works for me to be the healthiest version of me.
Part of it is activity and what I eat / consume… but part of it is also the rest, recovery and sleep, as well as the social contact and fun. Now Covid has made the last part hard, and I truly miss it… the simple visits to see and stay with friends and family is missing… but we’re getting by aren’t we?
I’ve learned that being active needs to be an every day part of my life… and my other half believes this too – which makes it easier. If I’m not up for it… I’m usually eased out the door for a walk or a run… to get some fresh air, get the blood and endorphins pumping, to get the body moving.
Giving up alcohol (in 2009) has probably been a key part of being healthier too – but I gave it up so long ago that it hardly even enters my mind now (one of the best things I’d changed though). It’s meant it’s been easier for me to lose and maintain my weight, to be more consistent with my training and to also save money for other things like holidays and trainers etc.
Now, what works for me in terms of being active is four things:
1. To have (and review) a weekly plan, and days for each activity.
2. To have an annual training plan with base, build, peak, rest training periods. 3. To have an overall long term goal, a race, or a mileage goal. 4. To be active with others for motivation and chat.
Now for my 2021… and what I plan for it training wise:
The activities I enjoy…. are – strength training / gym work… running… cycling… walking…
So here is my weekly overall plan for activity… which can change based on me listening to my body and knowing if a rest day or walk would be better that day:
Mon: Strength / Walk
Wed: Strength / Cycle
Fri: Strength / Walk (or rest)
Sun: Strength / Cycle (or walk)
I would generally suggest that if you’re starting out you should look to focus on being active 4-6 days a week and take 1-3 rest days… or do walks on those days… starting out any type of activity can cause aches and pains… and rest is an important part of the plan.
I’ve probably learned the hard way about including rest, but now I’m careful to ease in to activity, and to listen to my body when i know it needs rest or sleep.
My weekly plan is usually based on training every day, but as I’ve been doing it so long, my body has become used to this kind of training, and I’m careful to take rest days if I know I need them… listening to your body is key, as is the ability to know when to give yourself a break (and not feel guilty)… or push it a little more for just that one walk, run or workout. I plan in the most of what I’d do and scale it back when i need to.
Wednesdays or Fridays seem the best days for me when I might take rest after the start of the week, or a full on week. Or sometimes I’ll take a weekend where the only activity I do is walking and getting good sleeps in for recovery.
In the latter stages of 2020 I’ve built my running back up so that I’m able to run for 45 minutes non stop fine without any pain (in my right hip)…. so the plan with running is to keep it all ticking over, 3 times a week, under an hour for the first 3 months of 2021, then see where I’m at. I enjoy running with others, but lockdown reminded me that I also like solo runs too.
I am entered for the Brighton Marathon in September, so I’m hoping that by around May or June I’ll be able to to decide if I’ll start training for it or not. Marathons are hard, and having spent three months off running last year due to injury… I might not want to put my body through it. But we’ll see…. it would be a great social event with the bots from Ellon… 😊💜
Then there’s strength – I had some good consistency in the first half of 2020 with strength training until I injured my hip with what was probably down to some heavy deadlifts.
I’ll make a change this year by using Apple Fitness strength workouts, along with some strength working my legs and hips, to see if that can help with the weakness in my right hip.
In terms of long term goals, the marathon is one which I might aim for… but this year it will be a long term training plan as follows:
January – March: 3 months – Lay base of fitness across running, cycling and strength.
April – June: 3 months – Build fitness, focus on longer aerobic work and strength.
July – September: 3 months – Train for the marathon, then rest at the end of Sept into Oct.
Oct – Dec: 3 months – Recover, build strength and cycling / shorter run fitness.
Hopefully we’ll get some holidays in there too, fingers crossed.
Other than that, the goal is to keep my fitness up (running, cycling, walking), build strength and be more consistent in the gym. A key one is to improve my sleep too, so I’ll work on that, as when my sleep is good, everything else seems to fall into place.
I haven’t set any mileage goals this year yet… I’ll see how it goes in the first three months or so and take it from there.
I’ve arranged a run for early Saturday with Debbie, and I’ll do some strength training this weekend too. But we’re still on leave so this next week will be more fluid, mixing up my training, before we’re back at work and I aim to go with the weekly plan above. We’ll be getting plenty walks in anyway.
What will you do to be active in 2021? Are you going to set yourself up with a plan, and do you have any goals?
What activities do you enjoy, and what activities can you do regularly that fit in with your life and your family?