So, how have you been getting on with your New Year Resolutions?
My own aim over the past month was to organise my time in a way that allowed a more regular training pattern – which I have almost achieved! I have been very lucky to have the ability to adjust my work hours slightly – in one case by just a half hour shift! This will allow me to ensure that I can regularly attend a couple of fitness classes that have been making a difference to my cycling / cardio-vascular fitness through a spin class and my flexibility through a body balance class.
For the other days of the week, I just have to make sure that I plan ahead to have the right kit with me to either go out for a run or head to the gym on the way home. One of the biggest hurdles for many people can be getting out of the house in the first place – especially during the winter months! So to work around that I aim to fit in my training before reaching home at all. Meeting up with friends can also make a difference as we can keep each other motivated to turn up!
Over my week the components I aim to include are: cardio-vascular sessions for my biking/running; specific sessions to maintain skills and technique specific to particular sports (bike to run transitions, mountain bike trails, climbing skills); & some gym/class time to address the areas that my sports don’t already target (improving flexibility).
For running & cycling the movement is primarily viewed as a being in one plane – forwards & backwards with very little sideways movement. As a result, our bodies adapt & strengthen the most used muscles…….. but this can lead to an imbalance for the other muscles that are not also being used. Imbalance can then lead to niggles creeping in which if not addressed can become a more problematic injury. A common problem can be a relative weakness in the muscles that move us sideways as these muscles also have a stabilising role to play.
So variety is not only the “Spice of Life”, it can also help to maintain a good all round strength & flexibility in the body. This in turn helps us to cope with the unexpected – someone falling in front of us that we need to dodge around can easily be achieved if we have all round fitness, but may cause a muscle tweak for someone who only trains in one directional plane.
So how do we add this in? For some it will be a training programme at the gym, for others it will be joining a class – the important thing is to find something that you enjoy taking part in that will get you moving in different directions! For me, I do both – I have a gym session to address a weakness I am aware of & the fitness class gives me an opportunity to check my body alignment & challenges both my core & my balance.