The final hours of 2013 are ticking away and it's my final post of the year. Most of us, admittedly or not, are reflecting on our strengths and weaknesses of the past 365 days. And most of us, whether we care to say it or not, are thinking about how to improve in 2014. Resolutions are made with fervor and optimism but once the Most Miserable Day (reportedly January 23rd, when most resolutions have been dropped) rolls around, they're long gone and elastic waistbands are once again our best friends.
Maybe that's how it goes for you, but here's how it goes for me: January is attacked with the fury of a woman who ate and drank her way through December (and the latter part of November if I'm being 100% honest). February goes pretty well, but the training is not nearly as ferocious. March training is a little on the slack side. April hits and brings the first triathlon and every year I say "Eff!! Why did I not keep up those promised changes? How am I not hitting PR's despite not training all that hard? It all started so nicely. Oh well, good enough-I'm a triathlete, aren't I?"
But I'm not settling for good enough this year because, like you, I deserve better. Reflecting on past behaviours, I noticed that there was no real accountability or incentive to sustain my very best, top notch effort. I enjoy doing it, but just as enjoyable is a night of socializing with friends followed by a long sleep. So how to improve accountability and motivation? Challenges and rewards! Here's what I've signed myself up to do:
30 Days with no grains or dairy: Sort of Paleo but with wine (Drunken Cavewoman, I guess?), giving this a go to soothe stomach issues and improve energy levels. I'm on day four and it's been a success, albeit with some pretty intense grain cravings. These are only supposed to last a week or so. I hope. *Disclaimer-I am in no way advocating the Paleo diet or anything like it, or saying you should do it. I am doing what works for me, and encourage the everyone to do the same* Reward? Beer on my bday!
Run 20 miles every week from Jan. 6-March 2nd: Running is my weakness. The hardest part for me is getting out there for a run without a friend. Don't get me wrong, once I'm running it's all good but getting up the motivation is sooooo haaaaard. The challenge I've joined is through Run With Jess. You have the choice of either 10, 20, 30 or 40 miles per week and there are prizes! Woohoo! 20 miles seems pretty daunting right now, not sure how I'm gonna put that one together. Reward? The possibility of those aforementioned prizes and signing up for the Rock'n'Roll Half's Vancouver debut.
Cycle 20 miles every week from Jan. 1-March 2nd: Made this one up myself in hopes of getting on my bike a little (a lot) more often. Most of a triathlon is spent on your bike and thus has the greatest potential to lead to a PR. 20 miles a week sounds good now but on top of swimming, running, strength training and life, will I be able to fit it in? Therein lies the challenge. Reward? New tri shorts.
30 Days of Planking-start at 20 seconds and go all the way to 5 minutes: Does your stomach hurt just thinking of doing this? Mine does. You probably think I'm doing this to get a stronger core because the core is so important blah, blah, blah but no. A stronger core is nice but mostly I've always wanted to be able to plank for more than 30 seconds. You can find this challenge at Athleta or Tribesports. Reward? Being able to do a 5 minute plank.
Speaking of Tribesports, I highly recommend checking out their site, they have TONS of challenges for just about anything you can image. Anyways, these are my challenges, what are yours? You've probably guesses I'm using the blog as a way to keep myself honest but I'll also try to post updates on Twitter and Instagram. Best of luck to you in any challenges you take on and Happy New Year!