The first step to successful training is setting personal goals. Whether it’s losing weight or running a marathon, we present three possible goals and how you can achieve them.
Goal 1: Running a marathon
The first step towards 42km triumph is a realistic training plan and time frame – allow anywhere from 12 to 20 weeks depending on your fitness level. The marathon is a long-term workout, so you should be aware of that. There are some everyday changes you should make before you start: quiet Friday evenings at home, jogging during your lunch break, maybe even using your commute as a training route.
While the training:
Start with 3km routes and slowly build up to 16km. You shouldn’t increase distance by more than 5 miles per week – marathon training requires a balance of effort and recovery. As you practice, you’ll experience motivational dips, pain, and setbacks – listen to your body to avoid injury. Running partners and fitness studios with many fellow campaigners offer you valuable support.
The day of the marathon:
You can’t sugarcoat it – a marathon hurts. Prepare well mentally, too, so you remember why you’re doing this (i.e., to reach the pinnacle of running). Don’t try to run in record time – be realistic and enjoy the run. Knowing your own pace can prevent the 30km breakdown.
Goal 2: Lose 5kg
Quick fixes and diets may seem tempting, but they don’t help you achieve your goals in a healthy way. If your goal is to lose 5kg, then don’t aim for it in a few weeks – realistically it should be a few months. Cut calorie intake by 500-750 calories per day, exercise at least 3x per week and you should lose between 0.5 and 1 kg per week. Eat lean protein, lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If hunger gnaws, you can counteract it with a glass of water.
One of the most common reasons people scrap their weight loss plans is because they don’t see results right away. Although regular exercise and a healthy diet are good for the body, looking in the mirror can be demotivating at first because it doesn’t show the changes right away. Regularly remind yourself of the reasons for what you do and use a supportive app like MyFitnessPal to stay in control of your diet – family, friends and your fitness groups are other important motivators on your way.
Goal 3: Tone your tummy and buttocks
The beauty of exercises that strengthen your core are the quick results. A few crunches and lunges every night can go a long way — but in the long run, create a training plan to keep track of the changes. Try a 30-day challenge: start with 10 squats and 10 crunches on day 1 and increase the number each day. Alternate squats and crunches with lunges and planks. By day 30, you should be able to do 50 squats and 50 crunches with ease. All thanks to your trained abs and butt muscles.