Tips for staying fit this fall
We can all agree this year has certainly been…different. Many of us have faced huge changes to our normal fitness routine, and those changes are here to stay. The big group bootcamp classes we loved are no more, and all those miles we ran over the summer is starting to become a challenge with cooler weather and shorter days. But for many, a slower pace of life actually freed up time for fitness like never before, and we want to keep that momentum going!
So, how can we make sure that our new fitness routine doesn’t fizzle into the fall? How do we keep up the energy so we can continue to progress as the winter months drag on? If you want to start 2021 as the best athlete you can be, check out these tips for staying fit this fall!
1. Set Goals for Yourself
The best way to keep yourself motivated is to have a goal that you’re actively working toward. Maybe you want to work on speed, endurance, or building muscle. Or, perhaps you’ll enter a few virtual races and spend the winter collecting medals! No matter what you choose, the SMART goal strategy can make it easier to achieve.
The term SMART goal stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. For example, simply saying “I want to run a faster 10K”, is a bit vague and has no specific timeframe or action plan. A similar SMART goal would be: “I will run my fastest 10K on May 10th 2021. I will do this by doing speed-training workouts twice per week for the next 6 months”. It’s also important to make your goals challenging enough that they push you, but are realistic.
Then, write your goals down! It seems like a trivial thing, but committing your goals to paper makes them much more real than keeping them just in your head. This committment goes a long way toward staying fit into the fall (and winter!)
2. Make a Training Plan
The second step to making your SMART goal a reality is to have a plan! A training plan will help you stay organized and on-track, especially when life starts to get in the way of your exercise intentions.
Take some time to write out your weekly training schedule. I like to do mine 4-6 weeks in advance. How many miles per week do you want to run? What days will you run, strength train, or cross-train? How many rest days will you take per week to recover? For runners, staying fit into the fall and winter months can be challenging without a clearly structured training plan. Trying to keep it all in your head just isn’t going to work!
Personally, I create my training plan using a simple excel spreadsheet. I have my days of the week across the top, and each week as a column down the side. I fill out how many miles I plan to run each session, and which days I have other activities planned. Having my training plan written down also helps me stay motivated to push through the tough workouts!
Need some help creating your training plan? Check out my guide for prepping for your first race!
3. Find your Community
2020 has been isolating AF. With gym closures and limits on group sizes, in-person fitness just isn’t the same as it used to be. But, we can still get involved virtually with like-minded folks and find community in a new way! Which brings me to my third tip for staying fit this fall: Join a virtual running club on an app like Strava, or find social media accounts from fellow runners that can motivate and inspire you. Finding a new group online can seem a little intimidating, but checking out some relevant hashtags in your area can help you find your new crew! For example in my area #runwpg, or #winnipegrunner are commonly used by runners to share and connect. You can also find me on instagram @steph.the.sport.dietitian! Here I share fitness tips for runners, recipes, and nutrition advice!
Another great way to connect with other runners virtually is through a group running development program. Mine will be launching in January 2021 and will help runners of all levels reach their goals with personalized nutrition and fitness programs! Click here for more information and to reserve your spot!
It isn’t always easy
Sticking with a fitness plan over the winter months comes with it’s challenges. But, having a clear goal, strategy, and plan can make it so much easier. Take a few minutes out of your week to set yourself up for success, and your future self will thank you!
Did you like this article? Subscribe to my blog and receive all of my latest articles delivered right to your inbox!
Read more by Stephanie Hnatiuk
About the Author: Stephanie Hnatiuk is a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer, and Diabetes Educator. She specializes in sport nutrition strategies for athletes of all levels, and loves helping fellow runners cross the finish line faster!
Click here for more information about my one on one nutrition coaching programs for athletes!