New Year, New Challenges: Safely Reaching Your 2016 Athletic Goals

 

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Jack Jones, PT, DPT, OCS

The New Year is upon us and resolutions are right around the corner. With the holiday merriment past, and another three months of winter weather ahead, motivation is at a premium. It is time to start thinking about the amazing things you are going to accomplish in 2016 and the best way to overcome any lingering aches or pains.

Whether running your first 5k, joining a charity bike ride or completing a long course triathlon, your decisions today can go a long way to determining how successful you may be and how much fun you have along the way.

Accomplishing any athletic goal starts the same way no matter what event you are participating in. Commitment! You can talk, post and blog about wanting to participate from your couch all winter long, but until you register for the event there is no reason to think you will follow through. Whether it is the money you spent to sign up or the shame you might face on social media, announcing your commitment to family, friends, and yourself makes a huge difference. Another way to up the ante on your commitment is to sign up with a training partner or friend. Joining social media training groups or communities dedicated to your event or activity of choice can also help keep you accountable. Now that you have committed to the cause, it is time to address the root of the matter.

First establish a training plan. This often means working backwards from your big day to create a logical progression in volume and intensity of your training
from where you are at now. Building recovery periods into your training is no less important than the actual training itself.

Setting a specific and challenging goal is important too. If you do not feel challenged or even a little bit scared by your new endeavor, it is not likely to be enough to get you rolling out of that nice warm bed on a frigid February morning. Going longer or farther doesn’t always have to be the goal. Maybe this spring you can run that 5k a full minute faster.

If you have been down the resolution road before without success or you feel a bit overwhelmed tackling your new target, consider coaching. We do not think twice about using coaches to teach youth sports, but as adults we do not need a coach, right? Wrong! Nothing magical happens when you are a competing adult. If anything, we are less informed, slower to change and more susceptible to injury. Coaching does not mean a crazed muscle-bound, whistle-wearing trainer yelling in your face. Rather, coaching is a guide to show you the path to successful training with regular follow up. PT Solutions offers sports coaches that help create a personalized training plan that works for you and your life.

Now that you have your goals set and game plan ready, what could stop you? Achilles tendonitis, back pain or that ache in your knee, to name a few. They can all be a product of common training errors keeping you from achieving your goals. Going too hard too soon or cramming all of your well planned training into the week before the race are tried and true ways to hurt yourself. The single best way to avoid injury is to address areas of weakness before you hurt. Don’t have time? Think of all the time you will spend in a doctor’s office waiting to get your foot x-rayed for a stress fracture. Don’t have the money? Scheduling a complimentary injury, performance, or wellness screening with a PT Solutions physical therapist is a great way to keep you #Unstoppable.