10 Takeaways from 2021

Rome wasn’t built in one day, but they worked on it every single day!

The Past, Present and Future

The year 2021, began with a lot of dreams and aspirations. With the pandemic tapering, it was almost necessary to progress in the game. But, just having aspirations does not work. It is imperative that there needs to be a plan to achieve the dreams.

At the beginning of 2021, the goals were set. The prime objectives were:

  1. Running Progression – Improvement of 10 k timing and attempt 21 K
  2. Target Weight – Mission 73, reducing weight from 77 to 73
  3. A kick start to cycling – at least 2021 kms of cycling through the year

To meet the larger goals, a set of smaller goals were set. Breaking the larger goals into smaller goals makes it more achievable. Here are some takeaways from 2021.

1. Know your capacity

Refer to the article on Basic Running Tips for Beginners

In January, when I began running, the target that I had in mind was to run maximum kms by the end of the year. Thus, I began running 8-10 kms almost every day. How long do you think i sustained? 3 weeks! At the end of 3 weeks, my muscles started getting sore. The cramps and pains became so chronic that I almost lost interest in running. That is when I realised, that I need to have a plan for marginal progression. I realised that I was still not trained to do a proper 10 K, and rushing into it can only be fatal. So, I corrected this from February and began a plan that had good rest days as well.

2. To loose weight it is important to have a good diet plan

Refer to the articles on Diet – Part I, Part II, Part III

Whether you are a runner or a cyclist or you workout in a gym or into sports etc etc, it is important to understand the difference between diet and nutrition. What I learnt during the year is that a diet plan is not eating less, but managing the nutrition. It is necessary to be informed about the food that we need to eat and that we need to avoid. Defining the macros and possibly planning it well. Breaking the 75 kgs barrier was real tough. But I was able to do that only because I had sound advise from my trainer and my wife.

3. Performance progression can be achieved by cross training, strength training

Refer to the article A Pending Decision

In any training, monotony kills the enthusiasm. It is important to keep variation. Cross Training and Strength Training only improves your performance. It is important though to not loose focus on what you are training for. I hired a personal trainer for strength training, played cricket, played badminton, football or any sport that I could play. Sometimes I played with the children, and sometimes with the elders. This helped me understand and challenge my fitness levels.

4. Not all goals are achievable

Refer to the article Deciphering Virtual Challenges

Year on year, I have realised that of all the goals that you set for yourself, you will definitely not achieve some. The key is to review the percentage that you are able to achieve. In my initial days, I had a manager who would always tell me, “Undercommit and Overachieve”. But this does not work in the case the fitness. The goals in fitness need look slightly unachievable so that you can work towards it. Setting the paramaters tright is the key.

5. Long distance running is all about the endurance and not pace

Refer to the article on Basic Running Tips for Beginners

In the virtual challenge that I registered for, I had the opportunity to be trained by a professional runner. The coach would always ask me to run slow and concentrate on the heart rate. I realised during this training, that it is necessary to acclimatize the body to the stress that you put it through. So running is all about building that endurance to cross the finish line and pace will come automatically.

6. There are many ways to build strength, it depends on you which route you want to choose

Refer to the article 10 Myths About Strength Training

Strength training is not about spending hours in the gym. Lifting 30-40 kgs of weight is not building strength. Strength building needs a plan and a focus. You need to focus on developing every muscle in the body. As my trainer would always say, “We are so focused on the upper body most of the time, that we forget that the legs are the ones that carry our weight. The muscles in the legs are the ones that are worked the maximum in functional activities. So people tend to neglect the legs and the core.” It is so true! I learnt new names like flexors, glutes, hamstring, core. I read books on the anatomy to understand the various muscles in our body. It is important to spend that time and learn about the body.

7. Consistency and Focus is the key

Refer to the article The Starting Problem

In any form of workout, it is important to be consistent. Missing a couple of days is fine, but try to not to justify that for yourself. Missing a few days in the workout, can take you quite a few steps back in your training. It is like a game of snakes and ladders. Every time you progress in your workout, you take the ladder. And every time you miss your workouts, you will have that snake sitting right in front of you to gulp you down. Focus on what and how you need to train. Be clear on your goals and work towards it.

8. Rest days are important

Refer to the article Couch-2-5k: An ideal training plan

Recovery is an important part of your plan. An unrecovered body will be prone to injuries. The body has mysterious ways to tell you that you are either overtraining or undertraining. Do not ignore the pains and cramps. Each pain and cramp has a story to tell. Prolonged pains need to be analysed and scrutinized properly to understand what is causing them. So plan well and dont shy off from correcting the course.

9. Injuries can be a major turnoff

Refer to the article Warm-up and Cool Down

Injuries only delay the training. An injury is caused when you either jump a step in your training or you are not doing something right. Trust the process. Trust your trainer. Follow the steps in tangent to the advise. Nevertheless, the human body is always prone to injury. If you are training in the right direction, then you will recover from the injury faster.

10. Invest in the right tools

During the course of last year, I invested judiciously in quite a few fitness equipment. To name a few: Garmin Fitness Watch, Saucony and Brooks Shoes for running, Yoga Mat, Weights for home training, Badminton equipment, Football Gear, Cycle and cycling gear, Running accessories like air pods, forearm and calf compressions, Track suit. In addition to this, I registered for multiple virtual challenges to test my training at every stage. I also invested in a personal trainer to have proper information on workouts.

The year 2021, taught me a lot of things about fitness. At the end of the year, I was at 72 kgs from 77 kgs. I was able to beat my own record of running miles. The first year of cycling was also considerably well. In addition to this, I had trained for almost 100 cross training hours. I have realised in the last few years that even if you are able to progress marginally, it is still a progress.

In 2022, I come with new targets! Wish me luck!

Stay Safe! Stay Healthy!

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