Now is the time when the weather makes it hard to get out of bed but thankfully, we have a new year to keep us motivated with our fitness routine. Perhaps you are gearing up for an upcoming race or have your eyes set on a few personal fitness/body composition goals. Whatever the case may be, don't rush the journey.
Sure, that is a saying that is often repeated and overly used but I am a firm believer that the process shouldn't be rushed.
Considering that I work with a lot of different types of athletes and receive emails from active individuals wanting to step up their training and/or exercise routine, I wanted to offer one bit of advice for getting back (or starting) a training plan.
Start with 2 weeks of "intro". It's very easy for athletes to get excited about training again and feel the need to wait for the perfect time to start. Or, feeling guilty or lazy after a break, go all-out in the beginning part of a training plan. When it comes to training or simply sticking to an exercise routine, we can often make it really easy to fail or feel defeated by simply expecting too much out of our mind and body. Like anything else in life, when we learn to do something new, we adapt by doing something over and over again. Just like in a sport or in training, we must "train" ourselves to perform optimally. Why this becomes so confusing for people, especially goal-oriented individuals who love to exercise, is that in order to adapt to training stress, training has to be consistent.
Giving yourself an intro week or two is a great way to remove the pressure that you have to be perfect w/ every workout and it also gives you a good marker of where your fitness is at this point. You can do a HR/pace test to assess fitness or my favorite, perceived exertion to give yourself a marker of what you are able to handle right now. Also, this intro week allows you to remove the need to push hard 7 days a week and gives ample time to work on skills and drills which are fundamental in quality training. Whether you ate a bit too much over the holidays, are ready for the "Reward" food because you earned it (we will save that topic for another blog) or are feeling excitedly nervous for your upcoming racing season, consider the stress you are about to put on your body and use a few weeks ahead of you to assess any weaknesses in your training schedule which may keep you from being consistent as the months progress. The number one problem I see from athletes is being caught in the miles or time spent training and forget about taking the smartest road to success. Sadly, athletes often take the long road which include junk miles, injuries, burnout, feeling like a zombie by the end of the week and even social isolation. It never has to be this way if you are gearing up for an event or striving to change body composition and certainly you should never be feeling this way by week 3-4 of a new training routine.
So, as you enjoy some of my homemade pancakes, consider sitting down with a piece of paper (if you coach yourself) or with your coach to decide on the best racing plan for your year and the best training plan to keep you energized, motivated and excited for the next 360ish days of this new year.
The pancakes pictured below were consumed on Sunday December 30th after a chilly and windy 38-40 degree ride in Florida. I sat on Karel's wheel for around 53 miles and we had the most brutal headwind for the last 90 minutes. After a long, hot shower and a tall glass of coffee, I had one thing on my mind that would make me feel incredible....pancakes. Enjoy!
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats (uncooked)
1 tbsp. flax seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup 1% milk
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries
1. In large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, flax and salt.
2. In separate bowl, mix together milk, water, honey and vanilla extract.
3. Make a well in flour mixture and pour wet to dry and mix until smooth. Add a little extra water for easy spooning for pancakes onto skillet.
4. On a non-stick skillet, medium/low heat, drizzle a little oil or use non stick spray. Pour ~ 1/4 cup batter on to tray and w/ back of spoon, smooth to make a flat pancake.
5. Cook for 1:30-2 minutes or until bottom begins to turn golden and flip. Cook other side for 1 minute.