Starting as you mean to go on

Yesterday (17th January) was ‘ditch your resolutions day’, when statistics show most resolutions will have fallen by the wayside.

For the first time in many years, I haven’t set any new year’s resolutions. I’m already on a journey to improve my fitness (Super Fit at 50), so that’s probably enough for now. The new year is still a good time for some reflection – am I improving in all the right areas?

Pressing ‘pause’

I wrote about starting Super Fit at 50 last year as a way of documenting my progress as I try to become a leaner, fitter ultrarunner, and have more energy for the important things in life. I think I am on the way to achieving a lot of the goals I first set out, and I’m excited (aka impatient!) to get further along the journey.

The Christmas break was a rare ‘true’ break. I ran less than I’d planned to. We were away staying with family, and the change in surroundings and routine made it all the easier to switch off. Food went pretty much as planned and I gained a couple of kilos, as expected. I also slept great.

Being challenged

Early in the new year, I was talking to a friend who is on his own journey of self-improvement. He said that he ‘knows what to do – it’s all about getting organised to actually do it’. What he meant was, half the battle is making it as easy as possible for you to keep to your plans. That’s backed up by science. If your goal is about running, having your kit washed, ready and by the door helps you psychologically – there’s less perception of effort!

I felt really challenged after speaking to him. I’ve been on the Super Fit at 50 journey for a few months now and it’s been going broadly well, but am I doing all I could be? I’ve decided to push harder – to squeeze an extra hour into my fasting window if possible, to limit sugar and eat more vegetables, and to stretch my training goals. I ran 50km twice in December (as part of XNRG’s Santa Virtual Ultra Challenge) and was surprised by how good I felt afterwards. I’m going to try and incorporate that into my regular month’s training.

Someone gave me the book ‘Ikigai: the Japanese secret to a long and happy life’ as a Christmas present. I’m about halfway through and can already thoroughly recommend it. The authors write about having a ‘reason to jump out of bed every morning’. Life often leaves us feeling the opposite. I wonder if setting goals we really care about can help – I certainly feel a buzz from getting up and pursuing my own tough training goals for Super Fit at 50.

New year, new focus

So, I’ve started 2019 with a renewed sense of purpose, a drive to conquer my goals – and, yet (and this is new for me), a sense of calm. We’ll see whether this continues as life kicks it up a gear once back at work – but for now, I’m enjoying this feeling.

I think the calm comes from having a secure sense of purpose – and knowing that I’ve made progress already, celebrating smaller successes along the way.

So, happy new year, and I wish you well in your own journey. If you’re struggling with training or setting goals that are challenging but feel just within touch, let me know. I’m an endurance running coach with XNRG and would love to help. Email me at andy@lifeisasinecurve.com

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