How do I train on a budget?

skating

Source: Kalleboo

One of the thing that interests me currently is how to train for a run on a budget. Like a lot of things in life we can tend to think that we can’t do them if we don’t have money. How do you train to run a spring race during the winter if you don’t have the money for a gym membership? Or if you don’t have the cash to drop on YakTrax or all the other gear that will help you run safely outside? Rather than being discouraged from starting right from the get-go, I want to look into how to do it on the really cheap. Here’s what I’ve found.

Living room workouts

Here are a few things you can do in your living room that get your heart rate up and give you that cardio workout you’re looking for. FitnessBlender has some videos on YouTube including this one that is a 17 minute cardio workout. Like they say in the YT comments, there’s no music so that they can keep the videos free, so turn this on and your favourite dance song and go for it. There are lots of other cardio options that you can find online if you’re looking for variety. This series from Shape.com gives you a warm-up of stretches, a bunch of cardio, and then a warm-down of stretches.

The local/municipal pool

If you’re in a city, you probably have a pool that has free swim hours for residents (click here for Montreal). I’m lucky to have one within a 5 minute walk of my house. You can swim laps or pool run (I’ve just learned about this). The best thing is, the worse you are as a swimmer, the better a workout it is for you! So go find out the hours for your local adult swim and get a work out.

Use the local skating rinks

I’m planning on lacing up my skates to get some regular ice time. There are plenty of outdoor skating rinks in Montreal that are free. I don’t think it should be a problem finding a time when no kids are playing shinny. Well, I’ll get back to you on that one. Anyways, you can try skating laps and build your stamina that way. The great thing about skating is that it’s low impact (though not as low as pool running, I imagine) so it should be easier on your legs/knees than running.

Do you have other ideas of how to stay fit for free during the winter? Share them in the comments here

Body Break!

bodybreakWow, I’m seriously, seriously loving The Power of Habit. It’s giving me huge insight into how I can develop the lifestyle I want that will help me reach a bunch of these goals. I’ll post about some of these things later, but one of the things it talked about was how people who are successful in changing lifestyles (recovering alcoholics, people doing physical rehab) are often more successful than their peers because they have a plan for their day/situation/year or whatever. This means that they have an exit strategy or they have mentally rehearsed what to do if a craving arises, or if stress gets piled on (in the case of the alcoholic) or for the physical rehabilitation patient they have a plan for what to do when pain arises that they just need to push through.

I’m pretty sure this the reason why I’m not super bummed right now about my lack of ‘training’ for my 5k at the end of April. This was more or less a part of the plan. Winter run if possible, if not figure something out. I’m definitely figuring something out. I’ve been doing some morning exercises from a DVD at home but I’m taking small steps towards swimming a few times a week in the neighbourhood pool a few blocks from my place.

An example

The other day it was bitter cold out. I had two main goals for the evening: get groceries and buy a bathing suit. It took me all day to psych myself up to drive the 10 minutes to Wal-mart Super Centre where I could buy a bathing suit and groceries at the same time. I’m not exactly at my height of motivation, these days. I almost convinced myself not to step out into the cold and that anyone would understand why I wouldn’t want to go. I did go. I survived and I bought a non-fancy bathing suit. I was one step closer to regular swimming. It turns out the suit didn’t fit me in the end. Wop wop. But at least I tried, right?

Little wins, people. 

Now I need to go back to Wal-Mart and I’m so much more motivated to exchange that suit and get one that fits me and hit the pool. I also have a plan. Thursday evening I had planned to go to the pool for a first swim but then I found out my suit didn’t fit. Instead of being bummed that I couldn’t go (but was also pretty uninterested in leaving the house due to icky temperatures) I made a plan to ensure success: I’d buy a combo lock, I’d visit the pool during free swim time today and figure out how the place actually works. That means that after work when I’m planning to go swim, I’ll already know the drill and I can just do it.

It’s kind of embarrassing how easily I can get bummed about something and then give up altogether. In this case, I’m determined enough to anticipate problems and pre-determine solutions so that I can reach my goal.

Guys, I’m kind of excited to flail around in a pool a few times a week! What’s up with that?

What about you? Do you try to plan in order to set yourself up for success? Or does winning not matter much to you? Click here to leave a comment.

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