September is, for many of us, a month of planning and getting back into the new routine. This may seem like a difficult task, especially now, after a long period of lockdown and staying at home; it may seem like a daunting task to most of us with many decisions to take and plans to draft.
Claire Desroches, one of our top trainers has recently written an extensive blog post on decision fatigue and some techniques that might help overcome it.
Here, in this much shorter post, we look specifically at how a good plan can save us time, energy and make our training more effective.
So, over to Claire :
“I have no background in psychology, so I won’t pretend to know about the science behind “decision fatigue”. I just know it’s a real thing, and it’s the reason we are often encouraged to have a morning routine. Aside feelings of virtuousness (says this night owl with only a hint of envy), a set morning routine takes a bunch of early decision-making out of the start of your day, before you are likely to be called upon to make more complex decisions, in order to save bandwidth for decisions later in the day.
But even if, like me, you prioritise sleep over a comprehensive morning routine, you can save yourself some decision-making even later in the day. The Weekly plan is one approach that you could try to structure your training routine.
The weekly plan
This might seem like the obvious approach – plan a whole week of training, in advance. This is essentially the approach used by sports coaches; there will be an overarching goal for the year (or longer), broken down into cycles of several weeks or months, which are further broken down into blocks of individual weeks, and subdivided into individual days and training sessions. This is ideal if you like to work towards a long-term goal, as you can set out an entire roadmap to reaching that target in whatever time you have available, and you know then that every session counts.
Even if you don’t have a set longer-term goal, you can still set yourself a training schedule one week at a time, if you believe that commitment to yourself will be enough to motivate you. Write out how many sessions of each type you’d like to do across the week (for example, 1 long run, 1 short run, 1 upper body strength training session, 2 core training sessions, and 2 whole-body circuit training sessions) and then plan out when is most appropriate to do those – you might prefer to do a long run on the weekend, and a short but higher-intensity session after a busy day of meetings. If you’re using exercise videos, maybe you spend some time on a weekend finding and lining up the videos you’re going to do, and you could even pencil the sessions into your calendar so you are more likely to stick to that time slot. Nothing worse than having an hour to train and spending 15 minutes scrolling through YouTube videos trying to find one you like!”