Running, Travel

Navigating the Health Perils this Festive Season

For this edition of Motivation Monday, the focus is on FUN in living a healthy lifestyle. It’s Monday, and it’s the first of December, which means it’s a great time to set oneself up mentally for the festive month ahead. With no game plan, it’s so easy to succumb to a mince pie here or an eggnog there, the office/club/family/old friends reunions, parties, gatherings and meet-ups start to fill the calendar and fitness takes a backseat, and before we know it, we’re waking up on 1st Jan with yet another hangover, wondering where the month has gone. Things get out of hand when we let go of the steering wheel, but really, all it takes is a little forward planning to ensure December doesn’t have to be an orgy of sloth and gluttony.

1. Some runners will be in various points of their post-marathon recovery period. Others may have already started another training cycle. Wherever you are in your season, it’s a good thing to review your previous month’s performance, and determine if the training plan you’re following is still suitable, or requires a minor tweak/major overhaul. Nothing psyches a runner up for a training run as much as visualising an upcoming race.

2. Fit in a training run (or whatever sport you do). Even if you don’t feel like it, tell yourself “just one mile”. Tell yourself “I’ll run/walk if I have to.” Tell yourself anything to just lace up and get out the door. You’ll feel better after that one mile, and who knows, you may go the proverbial extra mile in the end.

The Ninja Turtle woke up this morning feeling sluggish after yesterday's 14-miler, but decided that 1st of the month falling on a Monday is too precious a chance to not start correctly. Her one mile became four.

The Ninja Turtle woke up this morning feeling sluggish after yesterday’s 14-miler, but decided that 1st of the month falling on a Monday is too precious a chance to not start correctly. Her one mile became four.

3. Create a reward system to keep yourself motivated. This one is a very old trick, but what better time to do it than leading up to Christmas? If you want new compression socks, your 17th pair of shoes for the year, a cute set of earphones, or anything frivolous and slightly unjustifiable in the eyes of your loved ones, buy it for yourself. But work for it!

Create a point system and use stickers as point counters (yes, like in primary school).

Create a point system and use stickers as point counters (yes, like in primary school).

Reward yourself for each training run, and once you get to x points, buy whatever running apparel you desire. It's the best ever present to receive from your biggest fan: YOU.

Reward yourself for each training run, and once you get to x points, buy whatever running apparel you desire. It’s the best ever present to receive from your biggest fan: YOU.

By the way, for runners who have yet to commence a training log, and wish to do so, the above photo is one example of how to design one. There is no need to drop $30 on a pre-designed training journal; the Ninja Turtle paid 0,45€ on that cheap exercise book and jots down what she thinks are relevant details. As you progress as a runner, the things you choose to take note of will evolve over time, but a good place to start is always: distance and time.

4. Feed your body right. No, the Ninja Turtle is not going to start preaching/nagging here. Most of us know what to do, we just need to choose to do it.

Breakfast: starfruit! One of the best things about travelling is eating all this crazy, weird things that you won't normally find back home.

Breakfast: Starfruit! One of the best things about travelling is eating all this crazy, weird things that you won’t normally find back home.

Lunch: A giant alfalfa sprout salad with red rice, cherry tomatoes and yellow capsicum.

Lunch: A giant alfalfa sprout salad with red rice, cherry tomatoes and yellow capsicum.

5. Find a role model. It could be Usain Bolt. It could be your high school literature teacher. It could be Daffy Duck. Whatever. As long as you can draw your inspiration from that person, hold him/her/it as a shining beacon of light through this annual test of your willpower and resolve.

This is the Ninja Turtle's beacon of light: Zheng He. Explorer, nagivator, commander of various fleets, a man with many names, sometimes known as "the dude who brought a giraffe back from his travels".

This is the Ninja Turtle’s beacon of light: Zheng He. Explorer, nagivator, commander of various fleets, a man with many names, sometimes known as “the dude who brought a giraffe back from his travels”. To travel far, to see the incredible, and to do the impossible.

Don’t lose sight of your dreams and goals this festive season. Stay fit, healthy and strong, everyone!

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