Have you been dreaming about getting into the best shape of your life, but aren’t sure where to start? Or perhaps you run on the treadmill at the gym, but your motivation levels are down because it feels like you are always doing the same old dull routine. Whether you are new to the fitness scene, or have been hitting the gym for years, here’s a great way to either kickstart or breathe some new life into your fitness program: set a brand new 30 day goal. Try something new; something you have only dreamed about, but perhaps have never dared to venture into. If you are searching for ideas, here is a great one: Plan to enter a 5K running event thirty days from now. Thirty days? Really? It may sound kind of sudden and perhaps a bit scary at first, but the fact is that it can be accomplished. So if you are ready, here is the thirty day challenge to running your first 5k:
Step 1: Pick an event to enter thirty days from now. Go ahead and do it. It may feel intimidating, but when you register for the event you will have immediately made the commitment to move forward with your dream. What’s so huge about making a commitment? Without it, there seems to be a thousand ways to conveniently get sidetracked, back away, or pursue other priorities. Commitment takes ideas out of the realm of “I’ll get to it someday”, and places them into the realm of a concrete plan. Once you have a plan, the willingness to work hard to obtain the results will follow. By hold yourself accountable to a goal with a fixed end date, it has a way of sparking motivation far beyond what could ever be mustered with a more open-ended approach to training.
Step 2: Get a calendar, and, block out a 28 day plan. Keep the calendar where you can see it, and mark off each day that goes by. You will be engaging in cardiovascular activity for 6 out of 7 days for the next four weeks. Day 29 will be an off day to rest up, and day thirty will be the big event. Also, have a notebook on hand to use as a training journal, so that you can document the work you have done. Finally, make sure you have a good stopwatch on hand, because you will be using it extensively over the next month.
Step 3: Now, for the details. This is a simple, straightforward routine, but it gets results. Start on day one by alternating between jogging and walking, using a basic strategy. Jog for 1 minute, and walk for 4 minutes. Alternate like this for 40 minutes, which will equal eight 5-minute blocks of time. At the end of your first workout, you will have run for 8 minutes, and walked for 32 minutes. Each day thereafter, you will gradually increase your amount of running time, and decrease your amount of walking time. Each workout, during the first week increase your running time during each 5 minute block by up to 15 seconds, while reducing your walking time by the same amount. By the end of week one, you should be running for 2 minutes out of every 5 minute time interval. Rest on the seventh day, and then begin week two. By continuing to increase your running time and decrease your walking time by up to 15 seconds during each 5 minute interval of each workout, you will be running for 3 minutes out of every 5 minute interval by the end of week two. Follow the same pattern to be running for 4 minutes and walking for 1 minute out of every 5 minutes by the end of week three, at which time you will be running for a total of 32 minutes and walking for 8 minutes. This means that you will have completely flipped your run to walk ratio in only three weeks! Week four is for you to gradually increase you consecutive minutes of running time. On day one of week four, you will run for 5 consecutive minutes, and then continue with alternating 4 minutes of running with 1 minute of walking for the rest of your workout. On day two of week four, you will run for 10 consecutive minutes, and so on, until you can run for 30 consecutive minutes by day six of week four. You will have one day to rest, and then on day thirty, you will run your first 5k event, and you will be well-prepared to not simply survive the run, but to enjoy it.
So there is a simple, common sense approach to improving you level of fitness in just a few short weeks. Good luck with your training, and remember; far more can be accomplished in thirty days than you ever thought possible!