[title size=”2″]Couch to 5K Training: 10 Tricks For Sticking To It[/title]
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Now that you are well on your way training for the Thanksgiving Day Dana Point Turkey Trot, you’re starting to really feel the benefits of exercise. You feel more energized, you’re clothes are starting to fit differently, and your overall confidence is improving. Don’t lose your stride! Keep exercising and don’t let excuses get in the way of your well-being. Stay on track with these simple tips:

1. Start Looking at Exercise Differently. All movement is exercise. People need to give themselves more options. Take the dog for a walk, bike to the store or take five-minute stretch breaks. If you don’t count something as exercise unless it happens in the gym, goes on for 30 minutes or requires a shower afterward, you’re missing some of your best opportunities to stay active.

2. Think Small. This advice can be hardest for people who expect the most from themselves. If you often think “why bother walking around the block, when I should be running my usual four miles?” Remind yourself that a brisk hike can keep you from feeling that you’ve failed.

3. Set an Agenda. Set a goal, such as increasing the speed, frequency or duration of your activity. Maybe it’s time to train for the Dana Point Turkey Trot’s 5k or 10k, or maybe choose a more simple goal like walking uphill without getting winded.

4. Get off the Beaten Path. Have you ever tried snowboarding, bowling, swing dancing, or body surfing? How about reversing your power walk route or exercising at a different time of day? Physical activity isn’t boring, but how you participate in it can be.

5. Use Your Brain. If you’re new to exercise, try listening to music, watching TV or playing computer games to help you stick with it – but stay aware of sensations that could signal injury or overdoing it.

6. Get an Accountability Partner. Find a friend, mentor or coach to keep you honest. You can either exercise with your partner, or simply check in with him or her to report your progress.

7. Plan Ahead to Stay Active. Plan to park farther from the office and put your walking shoes in the car the night before. Plan to take that new yoga class next week, and call the babysitter now.

8. Face Your Fitness Foes. If certain obstacles continuously get in the way of your exercising, identify them right away. If vacations throw your exercising schedule out of whack, projects at work overtake your activity time, injuries sideline you, or you get bored easily, you need to face your challenges head on! Fitness foes can be beaten once they’ve been identified. You can change your vacation style, set work limits, get guidance for injury-free activity, find new challenges, and face your fears with counseling and support.

9. Go Tribal. Even if you’re introverted, the presence of others in your exercise environment can be motivating. We pick up on other people’s exercise vibes. Choose places and times to exercise where there will be other people who are actively involved in exercise.

10. Use a Script. We tell ourselves things like “skipping this one little walk won’t matter all that much.” Next time, be prepared with an answer for this excuse. Use images of past successful experiences to remind yourself of how good exercise makes you feel. Or, repeat a simple phrase to yourself such as “Every little bit makes a big difference.” If you use planning, flexibility and imagination, you won’t ever need to feel like a dropout again.