With the holiday season behind us we can focus on the upcoming race season. Many athletes jump into training during the winter without really having a road map of where they want to go. I have listed some easy to remember tips that will help you get back on track and set yourself up for a good race season this year.

Get a Plan!
The most important thing you can do to get training back on track is to have a plan! It doesn?t matter if you use something from a magazine, on-line, or from a book ? have a plan and commit to it. The old adage says, ‘It’s easy once you commit.” This has never been truer then once you are on a plan. Tell your friends your plan, write it down and post it up so you see your workouts every day. If you do these things, you are much more likely to follow the plan.

Set Attainable Goals!
Following up the above, don’t take on a twenty hour training week if you have only been averaging five hours for the last two months. Implement a plan that lets you slowly build up your hours and let’s you reach your goals. Setting attainable goals that you can reach will allow momentum to build and you’ll feel more confident as the race season gets closer. If you set a goal that’s unattainable then you’ll be disappointed in the first month of the season. And that’s not a good way to start the training cycle.

Weight Train!
Adding in a weight training program will let you not only increase strength and help avoid injury but it will help raise your metabolism and burn some of those holiday calories off. What a triple bonus. If you have been out of the gym for a while try some basic functional strength exercises such as: standing squats, one leg squats, lunges, side lunges, step ups, push-ups, dips, pull-ups, and or crunches. If you can learn to be creative, no matter where you are, you can always get in a good strength training session. Who needs a gym anyhow!

Get a Training Partner(s)!
‘Misery loves company’ goes the saying, so find yourself some friends to join you in your training. Having other athletes to hold you accountable for showing up is a strong motivator. This is a great way to push yourself to new limits and to make you show up in general. There are always athletes looking to train with a group, so form your own and keep the training going even on the days you don’t want to. . Knowing that Master’s swim is every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7AM helps you to make it to those dark, cold winter workouts which you would otherwise miss.

Get Flexible!
Learn a new sport ? but not an aerobic one. Taking a yoga class or stretching class will increase flexibility, improve recovery time and promote lengthening of muscles. It will also help you relax and allow you to sleep better at night. As we get older we lose pliability in our muscles and keeping them supple with yoga or stretching will help us avoid injury.
These tips, while good for getting you untracked from the holiday rut can also be implemented all season long. Good luck this season!

Michael Ricci is a USAT Level III certified coach. He can be reached for personal coaching at mike@d3multisport.com. Please visit his website at www.D3multisport.com.

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