As the clock struck midnight on the 1st of January, more than two-thirds of Brits will have vowed to improve their fitness1 – but by the beginning of February, only one in five will have stuck at it.
Motivation is a common problem when it comes to regular exercise, and no more so than for runners during the cold winter months. Grace Aloe Refresh, a refreshing Aloe Vera drink made with real aloe vera pieces and juice, teamed up with personal trainer and running coach Joe Shepherd to uncover how you can make 2016 the year that you complete that 10k or master that tricky six-minute mile.
First, explains Joe, you have to accept that fitness has no finish line. “Choosing to improve your fitness and health is a worthy decision, but there are no quick fixes. It requires constant goal setting to ensure sustainable and lasting changes.”
Set yourself targets, but ensure they can reasonably be achieved. And never break the ten-percent rule: only increase your mileage by 10% each week to avoid injuries and burnout. “It’s a tale as old as time,” says Shepherd, who has completed more than twenty-five marathons to date. “People often get anxious thinking about the task and commit to over enthusiastic training regimes, resulting in muscle strain and joint pain such as runners’ knee or shin-splints. Try to avoid this – if you ran 10 miles last week, then this week you should be aiming for 11! Also ensure that you do plenty of stretching. ”
Shepherd also stresses the importance of rest days, explaining, “They’re just as much a part of your training regime as the days you head out for a run. Giving your muscles enough time between runs to recover actually leads to a phenomenon called ‘overcompensation’, where recently trained muscle gets stronger to prepare for future exercise! ”
And don’t forget to log your exercise! Whether you keep a log on your calendar or through apps and wearable tech, it’s a great way of looking back over how far you’ve come.