I have a confession: I failed miserably at working out in January. I tried — and liked — yoga, but didn’t take full advantage of my three-week pass. And, although running is the most effective and cheapest way to stay in shape, I haven’t been motivated to hit the lakefront trail in far too long. Since my only other free option is to run on a treadmill in what is basically a hotel workout room, it has been hard to get off the couch. Suddenly it’s February 2 and I need a better plan — and the motivation to actually follow it.
The best motivator to start running? Signing up for a race. Whether the event is six months or six weeks away, paying an entry fee is usually my first step toward getting in shape. The Get Lucky Chicago Half and 7k is March 14, so I’m planning to use it as a training race for the Nashville Country Music Half on April 25 (or something local around the same time). I often build races into my training plan for my “A” races because it gives me a true sense of how my training is going. And, since I try to keep in mind that the goal is just to complete a long run in a race setting, there is no (self-induced) pressure to have months of training culminate in a good time.
Since I’ve been struggling to get motivated, the training plan I wrote for the next six weeks was built around one goal: to run four times a week. I purposely didn’t write out speed or hill workouts or include cross training days because I wanted to keep it simple and flexible. If I’m on a treadmill, I’ll make up a speed workout. (I need to do something to distract myself!) If I have time and feel like working out in addition to running, I’ll find a yoga or spin class. And if I feel like getting out of the city, I’ll head to Barrington for a long hill run. Basically, if I actually run four times a week, I’ll definitely be in better shape in six weeks than I am now and I will have set a strong base going into the spring and summer. This plan isn’t meant for beginners and it’s not intended to lead to a PR, but with a little discipline, it should help me cross the finish line. Anyone want to go for a run this week?