February - Love it or hate it - romance for some, a difficult time for others when doing things on your own can feel really tough:
If you’re training for something specific, it ought to be all systems go as you pound the streets before the big day, or if you're still on a new year health drive, then no doubt you're hitting the gym on a regular basis. The resolutions have either survived and you're on track towards the new you, or you’ve reverted back to old ways, feeling the same or possibly even worse! Added to that, if you’re partner-less, your relationship’s suffering or may be over altogether, Valentine's Day can be a day of cringe worthy dread rather than die-hard passion.
But rather than let the endless promotions on chocolates, flowers and perfect meals for two wind you up, why not use Valentine’s Day
for furthering your own interests? Why not enter an event and look for a new type of partner - someone to help you set some goals, challenges and lifestyle changes. Someone to work towards a goal with you as spring time approaches and the days lengthen.
If you train with someone else you’re far more likely to commit to the session, work harder and enjoy it more. Going for a run on your own is therapeutic for many, but it’s also tempting not to push yourself or to not go out at all! Think how many times something better turns up, the TV beckons or it's freezing cold and the training's been shortened, less intense or even binned altogether! If you’re training alone, who's going know or indeed care if you don't get out there? Who's going to monitor you and check your progress, other than yourself of course, which for some resilient people is the only person they really need. But unless you're highly self-motivated, even the hard-core exerciser will get tempted away by something else occasionally, especially when it's only themselves they're letting down.
However, if you’ve got a date in the diary with a friend, training partner or perhaps a group, then you’re far more likely to commit to it! With someone watching you or doing it alongside, you're far more likely to work harder too.
And if you and a partner set yourself a specific goal then think how different and focused your training will become as you have a sense of how much it’s going to hurt if it doesn’t!
As a Personal Trainer, I too have to set myself goals. I too go through training lows which make me realise I need to implement a plan. What do I do? Find a buddy or a group to come out with me. Plus I look for new ways to exercise that will re-motivate me. The best way is to find others either the same standard or perhaps a bit fitter to provide that extra push. And before you know it, your diary becomes so full with training dates and obligations to others, life becomes busy, fulfilling and purposeful again. The key is to understand yourself and what your key motivators are:
Do you want to achieve something you've never thought possible such as an endurance race or fun run? Maybe raise money for some cause or charity you're passionate about? How about trying something new like a Triathlon, a Bike Ride or The Three Peaks Challenge? May be even a team entry which means you can all train together towards the same end result?
The chances are once something's firmly on the horizon; you'll be committed to doing it and will succeed. And think about what you're going to enjoy about the training overall. It doesn't have to be endless long lonely training runs which many people dread. You can vary the programme with Cross Training - swimming, boxing, cycling or dance. Buddy up for some weight training, find a group class that appeals and delivers the results you’re seeking: Loads of parks have outdoor training sessions for all abilities. Check out British Military Fitness for a great way to get an all over body workout, led by serving or former members of the Armed Forces and tailored to different needs. Or look for a new Club to join which has varied training programmes, sessions and people.
So on Valentine's Day this year, rather than endure the usual over-priced chocolate frenzy without anyone you truly love, use it as a catalyst for finding something or someone to help really transform your life!