It’s no wonder that lots of us try to make changes to our lives in January. It’s not just a clean sheet, but a reaction to the bulging sack of indulgence that is Christmas. Before bonfire night has finished burning, the television begins the process of fattening us up, subtly highlighting everything that’s missing in our lives. Our heart strings are well and truly plucked in a virtuoso performance by saucer-eyed child actors, and images of people having way more fun than us. And all because they spent their money.
When the music stops and the ball drops, the illusion is over for another year - so it’s little wonder that we stumble bleary-eyed on to the streets to make good our escape. Eleven years of Fetch amounts to 2.8 million miles in January, compared to 2.1 million in December - the leanest month followed by one of the most bountiful, in a collective correction against consumerism.
Of course, at least some of this difference can be attributed to the blossoming spring marathon scene. But which came first? It’s a typical chicken and egg situation - but my money’s on the cold turkey.
I ran 934 miles in 2015, which is twenty miles shy of my highest annual total (though not even in the top 1000 runners who log their training on the website). But the thing that I am most pleased about is the consistency. Have a look at this screenshot:
It shows that I ran on 164 days during 2015, and that I didn’t have any gaps of seven days or more. And on the flip side, I ran four days in a row a couple of times, but I mostly managed to balance running and recovery. Compare that to previous years where my running was really patchy. You can find this tool under Training > Analysis > Consecutive Training - and like everything else on the website, it’s available to everyone.
If you can find space for one marketing message in the crowd this year, it would be to avoid the boom-and-bust approach to training. Ok, so maybe you shouldn't have gorged quite so vociferously in December. But if you gorge on exercise in January, you're heading for trouble. If you’re new to it all, it’s better to train twice a week without fail than it is to go every day for a couple of weeks and then give up, or even worse, to run yourself into the ground.
Here’s a an article about goal setting which will help you think about sustainable changes, and another one about building your own training plan which might help you figure out what you need. And if you’d like to put together a plan that suits you, try our Training Plan tool.
All that remains is to wish you the best with your plans, whatever they may be in 2016. See you next week.