Part-Year Review. Part New Year 2017 Re-Up

New Year

It’s the New Year and that can only mean one thing. Resolutions!

There’s a lot said about resolutions. Some of it negative. They’re pointless. A huge percentage of people give them up within 2 weeks, so what’s the point in trying. Why wait until 1st January to start something that you really want to do and will make you happier or healthier.

I agree with the last point. What’s the point in waiting? But if there were to be some arbitrary date to get started then 1st January is as good as any. If it gets you up and provides some motivation. Why not!

I’ve been working on putting things in place to improve myself and my health throughout in 2016. Some have had success, some have come, gone and come back again and some never really got started. They’re more general things I wanted to do during 2016 and some were not particularly specific. Which could have been one of my issues.

RUNNING

Running selfie

During 2016, I wanted to run more races, run more regularly and improve some PBs. The overall assessment would be good. I ran more races than previously, not enough but more none the less. At the Silverstone Half Marathon in March knocked 13 mins of my PB and then in September at the Ealing Half, took another 4 mins off it. I had to defer my Great North Run place to this year.

I’ve now done 26 parkruns with 19 of them being in 2016. I  broke my PB once.

I’ve already signed up for the Salomon Richmond Half in March this year and plan to do the Hackney Half in April and have the Great North Run and Ealing Half booked for September.

I will be doing more 10kms this year and will keep you up to date on my plans. I also need to do more training and make it more of a regular occurance.

Solution – Create a training plan for my upcoming halfs and join a running club.

Cycling and Other Activities

Cannondale Bike

I started cycling to work back in April and have cycled on average 3 times a week (7 miles each way). I shared my thoughts on cycling in a post here. It’s had a positive impact on my fitness, provided flexibility to my commute but the major benefit is the mental impact it has had on me in the morning where I feel alive, alert and ready to go.

I splashed out on a new bike in October which I love and has really helped my pick up the pace. I did my first triathlon in May with Intotri, a fantastic company that put on free triathlons in South West London. With my new bike, I am looking forward to more triathons this spring/summer as well as some long rides with friends. I also want to do my first Obstacle Course Race this year.

Solution – Make plans and organise to cycle with friends. Book and complete an Obstacle Course Race.

Drinking more Water

I posted about my continuing plan to drink more water and its benefits here. This plan came and went whenever the feeling took me. Some days I did well and steadily drank water throughout the day and some days I was awful and hardly drank any. I could stand looking at a water filter, thinking Now would be a good time to have a drink of water, and I wouldn’t bother.

This is one where I just have to stop being an idiot. It’s easy to do and I know the great benefits it has for my brain, body and physical performance.

Solution – Drink more water by carrying a bottle with me and steadily drink it throughout the day.

Stretching

Stretch head up

I explained my back issues here. A quick breakdown is that I have tight hamstrings and they are pulling on the muscles in my lower back making it tight. To relive this, I need to stretch. It doesn’t stop me doing anything, it is just uncomfortable sometimes.

In full honestly, I have been poor at this. I’ve stretched on and off in the evenings and rushed it after runs and training.

Again, no excuses here. I need to stop being lazy and dedicate 10 minutes of my day to this.

Solution – Include stretching in my morning or evening routine.

Press ups

For some, it’s the burpee, but the bane of my life is the press up. I do my fair share of press ups as part of BMF. I do normal ones, close hand ones, wide hand ones, ones with my legs in the air but I never seem to get stronger/they get easier.

There is one real answer to this conundrum. Do more press ups!

Solution – 4 sets of 20 press ups, four times a week to be included in my morning or evening routine.

Bedtimes, Mornings and Meditation

Over the last few years, there has been a shift in the perception of the value of sleep. It has gone from bragging about how little sleep you got or can survive on to discussing your evening routine, your go to bed alarm clock and your quality 8 hours in the land of nod. There’s a myriad of wellness benefits to getting more sleep, but the one that really sells it for me is being able to show up better for your life and the people in your life.

In recent months I have been planning to get to bed early and get up early (around 6 am) meditate and stretch. The dark mornings, cold temperatures and late (ish) nights have made it a struggle to clamber out from under the winter duvet. Every day I say I am going to do it and don’t.

Solution – Organise everything for the next day (breakfast, lunch, kits bags, smoothie) the night before. Go to bed at an agreeable time to get a good number of hours sleep. Do not use the snooze button or reset the alarm clock.

Willpower and motivation will only get you so far with your aims and goals. I recently read an excellent article by Oliver Burkeman in The Guardian looking it to whether willpower actually exists. It explains how it may be better to forget all about it and put tools in place for how you might be more likely to do what you plan to do.

Stagger your goals. Don’t have 10, none of which you’ll focus on correctly. Pick the one that’s most important to you and create some small steps to how you can help yourself achieve it.

For example –

  • Don’t take your wallet out with you.
  • Get rid of the booze/chocolate/crisps in the house
  • Leave your phone outside of the bedroom.

If it’s working and is going well, add another.

Happy New Year and the best of luck with whatever you want to achieve in 2017.

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