Ready or not, 2019 Is almost upon us. I’m excited for what the new year will bring, and I hope you are as well. If you had a great 2018, awesome. If you didn’t have a great 2018, let’s get excited for a better 2019. I’m an eternal optimist and believe our outlook on life influences out life.
2018 was certainly a good year with Grant turning 2, the birth of our second son, getting back to training and competing in shorter distance triathlons, Brett getting a new and wonderful job and just living life. We are so blessed.
As we look forward to 2019, I want to encourage you to be intentional in your lives and to be present in everything you do. I’m a natural planner, and even if you’re not, I think that if you have some goals, dreams or a vision, you create a way to execute them. With that, I wanted to touch on a few tips for you this winter as you get ready for the 2019 race season. If you’d rather watch the tips, click here. If you’d rather read, read on.
There are 3 categories of tips that I want to mention: physical, mental and nutrition. Being race ready is not just physical, even if that is the main area most focus on. There are many areas to make a complete athlete, though these 3 are key.
Physical: of course, training is very important. Whether you use a coach, write your own plan or follow a training book, train and be consistent. It’s key to getting faster and seeing those improvements. The tip that I will give to make sure you’re race ready is to make sure you have a strong muscular foundation pre-long miles. Think about an area you might have struggled with injury wise-ITB, plantar fascia, etc. This is the time to work on it. Don’t get months into your training, develop an injury and have to stop training. Focus on making your body strong now. A full body strength program is good, though if you’re time crunched, I’d recommend focusing a minimum on an are you’ve struggled with In the past. If you’re thinking “I haven’t struggled in the past,” great, but you might. I recommend working the hips and glutes. Strong hips and glutes make you a stronger athlete, and prevent one of the most common injuries, ITB syndrome. Exercises to help your hips and glutes include: squats, lunges, clam shells, fire hydrants and lateral walking with a band.
Mental: this is one that too many people neglect. They either don’t think they need to work on it, aren’t sure how to work on it or aren’t even aware of it. If you’re new to endurance sports or a veteran athlete, we all have areas we can focus on. If you know you have a current area of weakness, say the fear of open water swimming, start working on it now. Of course you might say, but I can’t open water swim in the winter. No, but you can go basic and do visualizations, work on mantras and even consult a sports psychologist. My tip for everyone is, make goals. Goals should be short term (next few weeks, month to the current season) while long term is 1-5 years down the road. You need to look short term in order to make sure you’re staying on track, staying motivated and just seeing the progress of what you are doing. Goals should follow the acronym SMART:
As an example with weight loss: here is one I here-I want to lose weight. Great, but you haven’t made it a SMART goal. A SMART goal sounds like this: I want to lose 10lbs, in the next 2 months. You’ve hit all the check boxes. I encourage you to write down at least 1 short term and 1 long term goal and revisit them often. Instead of a New Years resolution that I feel too many people make and inadvertently break or can’t follow due to arbitrarily picking a resolution. Make SMART goals instead.
Nutrition: This is a big one for me as it’s a main area I focus on with athletes. There are 3 areas in nutrition to look at-every day health conscious nutrition, achieving ideal body composition and race day nutrition. I’d say the majority of athletes want to lose weight. Some know they want to but aren’t really focused on it while others can be obsessed with it. I am very passionate about nutrition and as many of you know, it’s due to my previous past with disordered eating. I want to help others break out of unhealthy and harmful patterns with food. It’s one reason I studied nutrition. I don’t want others going through what I did. And I’ll give a little plug here, but if you’re interested in taking my online 4-week course with a 4 week meal guide, I’m doing a New Years Day (it’s actually the whole first week of January) special to help encourage others to switch up their current thinking and nutrition and try something new. It also contains nutrition for training, and how to eat around your training. Click here to purchase it at a 22% discount! Then, to not forget specific race day nutrition, start working on it now. Don’t wait for the 4 weeks prior to your race to decide what to take (or to try to lose weight as you’ll just be training with depleted glycogen stores). Start buying and taste testing different products. Race day nutrition is very specific to you as a person. Don’t expect to be able to follow your favorite pro athlete and perform as well. So practice practice practice!
Here’s to a great 2019!