If you’re feeling a bit stuck on coming up with some New Year’s resolutions, we have come up with a few to help you with your athletics in 2019!
1. Get more sleep
There is very little in life that can’t be cured with a good night’s sleep! We should be aiming for at least 8 hours per night, so if you know you will have to get up for school at 7am you should be fast asleep by 11pm…which usually means phones should be off at the very latest by 10.30pm to give your body time to wind down. This is even more important for our athletes who are sitting exams this year – often the extra sleep you will get by going to bed early will be of more benefit to you than the extra 3 hours you spend late night cramming! Make getting a good night’s sleep one of your main priorities in 2019 and see how much your mood and your athletics performance will improve!
2. Eat more fruit and vegetables
Never tried an avocado or a sweet potato? Don’t know if you like pineapple? Not sure what quinoa is? This year aim to learn at least 5 new recipes that incorporate more fruit and veg into your diet. Fruit and veg have countless benefits for your day to day health and not to mention how much they can help with your recovery during heavy training periods.
⭐️Tip: Bananas are a great snack between competitions or on toast with peanut butter as a race day breakfast. Try adding berries and other fruit to your porridge in the mornings to start the day on the good foot.
⭐️Another Tip: Avoid fruit and veg that are very high in fibre the day before/morning of a race (like apples, broccoli, peas, beans). If you are prone to getting a bit nervous, they might have you running to the loo!
3. Eat less sweets
Don’t worry, you don’t have to cut them out altogether 😜 – everything in moderation! Try keep sweets and junk food to a minimum and perhaps save them till after a competition or a particularly hard training session.
4. Improve technique
No matter how good you are, everyone has something in their technique that can be improved. This year, why not focus on improving your high knees, keeping your arms low, learning to squat correctly, relaxing your shoulders or focussing on getting into a better rhythm of your breathing. Take a video of yourself before you start and remind yourself before each session what you want to improve on and aim to work on it in your training each week. Take a look back at your video in February and compare – have you started to see an improvement in your technique? If not, have a chat with your coach who can help you so you begin to see an improvement!
5. Take part in a competition
Are you yet to take part in a race or competition? Don’t miss out on the fun! Make it your goal to take part in your first race or field event in 2019. Don’t worry about where you finish – the only person who really cares about where you place is you! Your club mates and coaches will be there to support you on the day and just want you to enjoy the competition. Why not do one competition and afterwards, have a think about 1. How you felt, 2. What was good and 3. What you can improve on, then aim to work on it for your next race? All competitions are great experience not just for your athletics but for your confidence & self esteem (whether your notice it or not!) Plus, they are a great place to make new friends with similar interests across Dublin. Often the people who you race at juvenile level will be the same people you race when you get older, so you may even find yourself making friends for life!
6. Get a Personal Best
It doesn’t matter the event – this year, aim to run faster, jump higher, throw further and work harder than you have before and hopefully a PB will come your way!
7. Take more photos
Many of our older athletes/former/retired members treasure the photos they have with friends when they were in the running club. Make sure to document your memories so you can look back when you are older and perhaps not so energetic!
8. Prioritise rest
Rest and recovery are just as important as training. This goes hand in hand with eating right and getting more sleep. This year, instead of pushing through that cold or risking running on that sore hamstring – focus instead on recovering quicker. Think about it – the quality of what you can do in 3 days with no cough is much better than what you can do in 7 days with a cough!
Taking a day or even a week(s) off training can be difficult when you are sick or injured, especially when it messes with your routine. Instead of worrying about the days you think you are ‘missing’, take the time to do something that will benefit you when you do get back training, such as:
- Learning some new healthy recipes
- Preparing some healthy snacks
- Working on your foam rolling, stretching & mobility
- Buy a new training diary (if you don’t have one) and start filling in training/the rehab or recovery you are doing to document your progress
- Trying other forms of exercise like walking or swimming (if you are not sick!)
- Writing out a new stretching/warm up routine for race day
- Creating a new warm up music playlist to listen to before you race
- Booking an appointment with a physio to get a sports massage during the time slots you would usually be training
- Looking up videos on Youtube of new drills or exercises you want to try or videos of your favourite athletes and see what you can learn from their race.
Note: Recovery is not just about when you are injured and sick – it is also about how you recover from your training sessions so that you will be able to do your next training session well. Recovery can involve a bunch of different things like doing a proper cool down, stretching, foam rolling, making sure to eat something after your training, getting enough sleep, eating enough, going to the physio if you feel a niggle, resting after a hard session, minimising stress..to name a few!
9. Learn a new skill
Whether it be doing a push up, trying out a pull up, hopping over a hurdle, skipping, using blocks, learning how to do a long jump or shot put or even mastering a hand-stand – aim to learn at least one new skill this year. Every new skill you decide to learn will always be a bit shaky at the start (thats the whole point of learning it eh? 😉 ) You will be surprised how quick you can learn something new when you just stick to it. For example, if learning how to do a push up is your ‘new skill’ aim to do 3 push ups at every training session for the month of January, 5 push ups in February, 6 in March etc etc…by summer time you will be flying!
⭐️Tip: Challenge a friend! You will be more likely to practice and perfect your new skill if you have a pal also trying to learn it. Who can master it first?
10. Set your own personal goals
Separate to all of the above – you can also set your own personal goals that you don’t need to share with anyone. Why not write them in the notes or calendar section of your phone so you can easily check back on them throughout the year? These can be as big (‘I want to win the all Irelands!!’) or as small (‘I want to drink 1 litre of water every day’) as you like – just as long as they are relevant to you.
⭐️Tip: When setting your goals (in any walk of life, not just sport!) just make sure that they are SMART :
- Specific – ‘I want to be able to do 10 push ups without stopping by the 1st of May’ (specific) rather than : ‘I want to get better at push ups’ (vague).
- Measurable – You need to be able to compare a before and after to see did you actually improve, so if you could do 2 push ups before and can do 10 now, you know you have achieved your goal.
- Achievable – Keep it realistic ‘I want to run the world record in the 100m’ may not be attainable for most of us, but ‘I want to run a PB in the 100m’ is. Your goals should just feel slightly out of reach (at this point in time) so that you know you will have to put in a bit of work to achieve them (thats the point!😜).
- Relevant – Is this goal relevant to you? Sure, you can copy other peoples goals or resolutions, but you’re a lot less likely to achieve them if they are not relevant to you or your life. Don’t be afraid to be unique!
- Time bound – Set yourself a time limit – whether it be 4 months, 6 months, or a year – to put a bit of pressure on yourself to succeed in achieving your goal.
Whatever resolutions or goals you set yourself this year, know that our club is home to members from all walks of life (we have coaches, mammies, daddies, teenagers, smallies and everything in-between, international athletes, former international athletes, walkers, joggers, cyclers, shufflers, college students from a range of universities, business people, health professionals, teachers, writers, former car salesmen…the list goes on!!) that are always there should any of our members need advice, a chat or a helping hand with resolutions or otherwise 😊.
🎉Have a Happy New Year and let’s hope for a successful 2019!🎉
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