Monday, October 3, 2011

Tips for Getting Your Workout Schedule Back on Track!

You how great it is when you find a workout schedule that works? Everything is going along great, you’re getting your workouts in consistently, feeling good about how well everything is going and then – wham! – summer is over and life groups start back on your long run day.

Okay, maybe that last part is just me, but the general scenario is probably true for a lot of us and it’s amazing how one little schedule change – no matter that you knew a month or more in advance that it was coming – can throw your whole workout routine out of whack.

I let mine throw me so out of whack that it was actually depressing how far off track I’d gotten. I was supposed to have had my first 13 mile long run tonight – I haven’t even had my first 10 mile long run yet. See? Depressing.

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photo courtesy of microsoft images

While it can take some time to find your footing after a schedule or life change disrupts your familiar, comfortable routine, it’s important that you do stay as consistent as possible while you try to regain your footing.

As much as I hate doing long runs on the treadmill, I’ve been doing them on Sunday nights. I think the first week back after a vacation-induced running hiatus it was only 6 miles, which I’m not sure even really counts as a long run, but the next week I did 8, then 9.

I was going to suck it up and try 10 on the treadmill this week – and hope that the motor didn’t burn up – when I realized that, with the cooler mornings we’ve been having, I could force myself out of bed early one weekday morning and get my long run in before we start school. I chose a day when we have no outside commitments, hence a greater degree of flexibility in our start time, and created a new training plan.

Unfortunately, I won’t get in the three 13 mile long runs I would have gotten on my old training plan – which would have set up me for feeling really confident on race day – but I’ll get a couple of 12’s (and may even go for a 13), and, hey, if I can run 12 miles, what’s another 1.1?

When your workout schedule takes a hit, here are some tips for making the most of it:

1. Be Flexible. Maybe you prefer working out in the mornings, but your schedule won’t allow it for a time. Try a lunchtime walk or move your workout to the evenings instead. It may not be ideal, but flexibility can be key to reaching your health and fitness goals. Be willing to give the treadmill or spin bike a try when you can’t get outside for the real thing.

2. Do Several Mini-Workouts. Studies have shown that three 15-20 minute workouts can be just as effective as one 45-60 minute workout. So maybe you don’t have time for an hour spin class or a 5 mile run, but maybe you can take a brisk walk/jog around the block, jump rope for 15 minutes (killer calorie burner!) or even hula hoop (this one, too) with the kids for a little while. 

3. Workout When You Can. Don’t let the fact that you can only get in a full workout one or two days a week make you feel like you shouldn’t even bother. Every little bit helps, so keep doing what you can do while you try to figure out the rest.

What do you do when life throws you a curveball and gets your workout routine off-track? Do you have any tried and true tips for squeezing in workouts when your schedule won’t allow you longer blocks of time?

Do or do not. There is no try.

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