In the lead up to summer, the fitness industry is flooding us with 8 week challenges, 2 week unlimited deals, and other varying incentives to get us back in shape.
Being motivated to get in shape is great! So what’s the issue?
This story is set 2 years ago. It’s late October with Melbourne heating up and a pollen count high enough to make the flowers sneeze.
I don’t know about you guys, but for me getting back into a pair of shorts is a sure way to shock me into bumping up my training for summer.
So I download a new running app on my phone which means I can log the times and distances as I up my running. The best part, there are weekly goals set by the app with the potential to win prizes if I tick them off each week.
What could go wrong?!
I’m certainly no pro but I usually clock around 5-7km pretty comfortably, a couple times a week depending on my other training and how I’m feeling.
Now I’m keen to up the k’s, and my fitness. I’m also pumped to test out my new app and start filling up my running log!
This week my running app is offering the chance to win a brand new pair of runners if I clock 5km!! Easy!
I do 2x5km runs in the first week recording it on my app and I’m loving it!
This weeks’ challenge is a total of 12km which can be split over multiple days and multiple runs. The prize; a chance to win one of 100 fitness watches! I do my two runs again;
1st run = 5km on Monday
2nd run = 6km Wednesday. I’m feeling pretty done after the 6k, but walk an extra 1k at the end so I can hit my target…. 6 + 1 = 7km (+5k = 12) made it!!
This weeks’ challenge; 2 runs 5km or more, plus 1 run 8km or more. The prize; an adventure trip for two to Bali!
It’s a super busy week at work and I know I’ll only have time to run on Thursday, and the weekend. I decide to split it with the 8km out of the way on Thursday, then the two shorter runs on Saturday and Sunday.
I feel strong on the Thursday and manage the 8km comfortably but I’m embarrassingly hungover on Saturday and can’t bring myself to run. That leaves just Sunday. If I run the whole 10k on Sunday pausing the app halfway I can count it as two runs and still make my goal, genius!
At the 7km mark I’m pretty beat but drop down to a lazy jog for the last 3km. My right knee is a little sore at 9km but one last k is still manageable.
Can you see what’s happening?
As the weeks go on the challenges continue to increase in number and or length of runs, and I continue to push myself.
The drive to make challenges has started to take over to the point that I’m rescheduling plans, or parking unnecessarily far away just to get in those extra k’s in.
Blinded to all warning signs, it doesn't take long for me to push myself to the point of developing a super angry knee joint.
Yet all could have been avoided if I remembered to listen to my body rather than zoning in on the numbers and obsessing over meeting the weekly challenges for prizes that I never won.
How do we avoid overdoing it?
Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be driven or goal focused. Challenges like these, or the 8 week challenges etc that we all hear about are fantastic motivators. But remember that at the end of the day our aim is to improve our health and fitness, not blindly push ourselves to the point of injury.
Key points to remember:
1. Listen to your body
We all know it’s normal to push through some pain when we’re smashing a workout, and often for a few days after the workout. What we need to watch out for is stronger pain that interferes with our exercises, or lingers for days following, interfering with our daily function. If you have any concerns or something is starting to feel out of the ordinary or not settling then the best bet is to get checked by your physio asap.
When starting or increasing any exercise, make sure that you build slowly. This applies not only to the number of sessions per week, but also the length of sessions and the intensity of sessions.
Mixing up your style of workout or muscle groups targeted, can mean you can keep your number of workouts up, with less risk of overloading. For example working on legs one day, and back the next, or doing a long run one session, but shorter hill sprints the next.
3. Allow for recovery
Getting enough sleep, along with eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water, are all essential to recover from activity and prepare us for our next workout. The summer holiday period is often filled with boozey Christmas parties and other regular events that can further deplete our energy. Remember to be kind to your body and take time for extra recovery as needed.
I hope this blog helps you to avoid making the same mistakes that I made; if you need one of the best physio’s in Australia here at Evolutio, give us a tinkle via firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re located at 11/3 Bromham Place, Richmond 3121
Kristina or as we like to call her, Kris Kringle is our newest recruit here at Evolutio, flown in directly from Europe on the new Dreamliner. She’s been travelling and chasing winter snow seasons like the fellas off Hot Tub Time Machine since graduating Physio in 2012 and has worked at ski resorts as a physio in Japan and Austria in addition to the infamous Mt Hotham.
She now works at Evolutio on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, if you’re ever in need of a physio here in Richmond. Swing in and see her. Just make sure you bring sweet goods and sausage rolls as bribes.