Whether you’re planning to start a new physical challenge in the new year or have not stopped training, the key thing that will keep you on track is determination.

With any physical exercise, there is often a point where you think “I am not sure if I can keep going”. This is the point where consistency and determination are needed.

This seems to happen less when you are achieving your physical goals and training well. However, there are common triggers where doubt may set in.

When The Going Gets Tough, Things You Can Do To Keep Going….

At The Start

This can be the hardest part of any new regime as physically it’s the most challenging. It often takes weeks to start to feel the benefits so it’s important you set realistic goals. Build up slowly and don’t be afraid to have a reward day, whatever that may be!

Over-Training

Without adequate rest days your performance will start to drop. This can stunt progression and significantly increases the risk of injury. If your performance is suffering, don’t be afraid to reduce your training sessions to allow your energy levels to return. Less can be more!

It is good to keep in mind, in our clinic, training injuries fall in to 1 of 2 groups.  Traumatic and Overuse. Realise that in the absence of any trauma, then your injury will default to an overuse injury. One of the biggest mistakes we make when training is not allowing adequate recovery time for our bodies.

Remember, exercise is a stress, so you need to allow your body to recover from that stress. It is also important to give it the right fuel to help that recovery. A healthy balanced diet will help with this!

Variation – “A Change Is As Good As A Rest – Almost”

Sticking to the same programme for too long can a lead lack of motivation and a reduction in participation. Try a completely new programme or type of exercise every 8-10 weeks. It will be tough to start with, but this is where you will get the maximum gains.

Find An Exercise Buddy

It so much easier to persevere when you have a friend motivating you. When you’re at your lowest point, a friend can make that difference to keeping you going. You can also return the favour when the roles are reversed.

Walking The Walk

Back in 2019 I had first-hand experience of this after finally completing a challenge I had set myself over five years ago.

I wanted to canoe the Caledonian canal in Scotland, all 60 miles of it. I like the outdoors and had done some kayaking in the past, so I thought why not.

I spent six months before the trip attending the gym regularly with weights and cardio session.

Then in August 2019, a friend and I headed to Scotland to canoe 60 miles in four days whilst camping in the woods with no facilities each night. “How hard could it be?”, I thought.

Day 1 – 12 miles

Nice sunny day, flat water with amazing scenery.  Just getting used to paddling the two man, 12 foot canoe. Steering and propulsion is easy when in sync but almost impossible if you’re not.

Weather: sunny/ no wind
Mood: excited/eager/happy
Physical effort: 3/10
Energy levels: High
Midges: coming in waves
Sore body parts: none yet
Hours paddling – 5

Day 2 14 miles

Starts off a nice sunny morning but we move to large open water and the wind picks up. This makes it much more difficult to paddle and steer. Scenery even better but then the rain comes!

Weather: sunny/ heavy rain/ windy
Mood: happy
Physical effort: 5/10
Energy levels: high but fading
Midges: they’re everywhere!
Sore body parts: right shoulder and backside (I can’t feel it!)
Hours paddling  – 7

Day 3 – 23 miles

We set off to canoe Lock Ness, all 23 miles of it in one day. It’s been raining all night and does not look like stopping. The wind is strong, and we are being bounced around. The vastness of Lock Ness is mind blowing and it feels like were heading out to sea! Visibility is poor but scenery still amazing.

Weather: heavy rain all day, thunder and lightning storms so heavy we had to get out and the trip is almost cancelled.
Mood: anxious but excited
Physical effort: 8/10
Energy levels: moderate but nothing left by the time we get to camp.
Midges: I think they have all drowned!
Sore body parts: both shoulders, backside (I still can’t feel it), lower back and hips.
Hours paddling: 9

Day 4 – 11 miles

Very sore and still wet form the day before. It’s still raining but no wind. Feels like we have tamed the beast but has taken its toll in doing so. Only 11 miles to go. Scenery is amazing it looks like we are in Jurassic Park! Wish it would stop raining though!!

Weather: light rain all day and flat water.
Mood: low, looking forward to a bed and hot shower.
Physical effort – 9/10
Energy levels – exhausted, it feels like we are going backwards all day.
Midges – It turns out they have not drowned!!
Sore Body parts – There is nothing that does not hurt!!
Hours Paddling  – 7

After four days and 60 miles (at no point were we going in a straight line so perhaps double that!) we make it back to Inverness. It’s physically and mentally the toughest thing I have ever done. Lots of highs and lows but we held in there to complete it. I am exhausted but with a huge sense of achievement.

What’s your next challenge? What will bring out the New You?

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