It’s the first month of the year, the time for setting goals for the year ahead. My advice for those of you looking to get fit this year is to plan your training well. This applies to everyone, whether your aim is to lose weight, build more muscle, or to run a better time in the next marathon.
A good programme must contain three elements — endurance, strength and flexibility. It must be structured to follow a systematic progression. And it must set clear long, mid and short term goals.
Through the coming months we will guide you through the process of building a well-rounded routine. For now, here’s how to get started.
Set your goals
What do you want to achieve through exercise? Identify you goal and commit to it so that it’s a motivating factor for you. Once you’ve identified your long term goal, set medium term goals. These will help you check that you are on track during the year. So, if you want to run 42 km by December, you should be running 10 km by March, 21 km by June, and 32 km by September.
The short term goals shape the training between now and your first medium term goal, allowing you to progress at a comfortable pace. There’s no point in deciding to run 10 km by March and trying to do it in the first week. Build your mileage slowly; it will let your body adapt and grow stronger without risk of injury.
Here’s an example of a programme for the first quarter. Start with this and evolve it as you get fitter. Remember, that it can be modified according to the time available, how much you want to train, etc. That way you’re more likely to find a system that works for you and stick with it.