Hands up if one of those resolutions is to get fitter and get outside more? So, tell me, how is it going? Have you started the Couch to 5k, been running, cycling, walking every day? Or have you, like most people, not quite got around to it yet?
According to a YouGov poll which was taken last December (2018), only 22% of people actually planned to make New Year’s Resolutions for 2019 and the majority of these were women, from London aged 18-24.
This opens up lots of questions, but there is one that I do want to try and help with in this blog. Just how can we remain motivated to get outside, to look after our health and wellbeing? How can everyone get motivated regardless of gender, age, ability to engage in a healthier 2020?
And not just for a month, or two but actually make a long-term lifestyle choice.
I’ve had a challenging year for one reason or another and I have put on a few pounds and my fitness has dropped away completely. So, I am super keen to get on top of this as I move in to 2020.
However, I knew that if I said I was going to run every day or start going to circuit training twice a week then this would soon dwindle. I, like most people let’s be honest, am brilliant at coming up with excuses not to do something.
But then I started see things pop up on my social media feed; charity walks, running events, mountain festivals, cycling challenges and they piqued my interest. Surely by physically signing up to something, having to raise money for a charity would give me the impetus I need? It certainly worked for me when I decided to run The Great North Run.
Cardiff Inflatable 5K
So, I have decided to sign up to a range of events in 2020; nothing too big, nothing too intimidating but things I can look forward to through the year. A 10K run in Bristol, a Trail Run at Keswick Mountain Festival, Mountain Biking at South West Outdoor Festival. Things that challenge me to do something a little different.
This year for me I really want to get back on a bike, be it mountain bike, road bike or tandem – yes tandem, watch this space. I am also going to sign up to things with friends so that we can encourage and support one another, roll on Tough Mudder and a couple of Inflatable Races!!
However, not everything I sign up to will be for charity, I have decided to choose just one main event (not sure what yet!) and this will definitely be more of a challenge – again watch this space, it may involve the tandem!!
So, what can you do that is not only achievable, but fun and will get you outside, getting fitter?
The Adrenaline Junkie
Whatever this challenge is it needs to get the heart rate pumping and the adrenaline flowing.
Scottish Highlands Triple Challenge
An incredible ‘Triple Challenge’ combine cycling, trekking and canoeing in one exciting weekend of activity. Culminating with an ascent of Ben Nevis and set within the classic adventure playground of the Scottish Highlands this is the ultimate triple challenge.
Race the Sun Brecon Beacons
Race the Sun is a fantastic challenge for teams of 4. Cycle on & off-road, climb a mountain & canoe a lake - start at sunrise & finish by sunset - racing the sun! This event takes place in the Lake District too.
Open Hadrian's Wall Cycle-Walk-Cycle 2020
Cover the whole length of Hadrian’s Wall in 3 days & see some of the best-preserved sections. Personal challenge or for the charity of your choice. Individuals, couples & groups.
Eli at the start of the Great North Run
Eli after finishing the Great North Run
You may have never run before or you may be a seasoned runner who fancies a different challenge, from 5K to Marathons, to Trail Running…
Organised free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. Parkruns are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in.
Simply Health Great Run Series
With iconic 5K, 10K, 10 mile and Half Marathon run events across the country suitable for all levels and abilities. More info here.
South West Outdoor Festival
A wide range of trail runs - 10k, half marathon and marathon distance, plus 5k night run and 5k canicross - are taking place at SWOF 2020.
Walking is a great place to start, it is accessible, you don’t need expensive kit or gym memberships and its free to train for your challenge!
Giants Causeway Challenge 2020
This tough one-day challenge has you trekking a marathon distance along the Giant’s Causeway Coastal Route. Whilst the distance alone would make this a tough challenge, the nature of the undulating terrain will have you ascending over 1000m along the dramatic coastline of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Keswick Mountain Festival
This unique event offers a fantastic mix of outdoor activities including hiking, in one of the most beautiful parts of the Lake District; it’s a family friendly outdoors festival for everyone to enjoy. More info here.
Dorset Three Peaks
Join diverse abilities on this unique event, created exclusively for this fantastic charity. The Dorset 3 Peaks might not be the most famous of the UK's '3 Peak' challenges, but this is your chance to be one of the first people to take on what is still a very demanding challenge.
Trek to the top of Lewesdon Hill (279m), Pilsdon Pen (277m) and Bulbarrow Hill (274m)
Snowdon Night Challenge
Beginning in the town of Llanberis, in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park, this spectacular challenge will see you and fellow fundraisers trekking to the top of Mt Snowdon....at night!
Water is your thing; nothing floats your boat more than being in the water...
Dive into this fantastic open water swim in the Serpentine - made famous by the Brownlee brothers.
Keswick Mountain Festival
A unique event offering a fantastic mix of outdoor activities including open water swimming. Set in one of the most beautiful parts of the Lake District, the festival is open to all. More info here.
Scilly Swim. Pic credit: Nick Lishman adventurescilly.co.uk
Great North Swim
Europe’s biggest open water swimming event with around 10,000 participants returns to Windermere for a weekend of events. More info here.
Wild Wye Swim 2020
The Wild Wye Swim is an annual long-distance swimming event in the beautiful River Wye, first held in 2017. Swimmers have the opportunity to swim down the Wye from Kerne Bridge and from Lower Lydbrook to Huntsham Bridge.
Simply Health Great Swim
For over ten years Great Swim has provided thousands of swimmers with exhilarating, challenging and safe events, whatever their age or ability. So whether it’s your first time or you’re looking for your next adventure, get out of the pool and take the plunge.
As a kid getting out on your bike meant freedom and feeling the wheels on the ground is what makes you smile.
Bike the UK Sea to Sea Classic UK
Ride through the spectacular Northern Lakes, over The Pennines & descend into Newcastle with 80 miles traffic-free! Click here to find out more.
Let’s Ride Events
British Cycling free cycling festival. Music, street food, stunt shows, a national road race, face painting and more. All the details here.
London to Brighton Bike Ride
Take on the 54 miles out of the city down to the coast, riding solo or with friends in the London to Brighton Bike Ride.
The Aviemore 100
The ‘Aviemore 100’ is a multi-discipline cycling challenge over 100km’s involving a road cycle section and followed by an off-road mountain bike stage. The route can be completed solo or with a mate, one of you taking on the road route, the other on the mountain bike route.
Ride London 100
Be part of the UK’s ultimate 100-mile sportive in 2020 - the perfect ride for all abilities from lycra-clad enthusiasts to beginners. More info here.
The ‘I’m up for a bit of a giggle’
Eli with her team at Mud runner
Don’t want to go it alone? Want something that makes you laugh?
Tough Mudder combines an epic mud run with world class obstacles to form a unique team-based experience.
UK Running Inflatable Races
The biggest inflatable run ever with 15 gigantic obstacles over either a 5K course.
Other Charity events you could get involved with
Mind - take on one of their active challenges.
British Heart Foundation - take part or volunteer at their events across the country.
Cancer Research - find an event and get involved here.
So, go on, have a little peruse though my suggestions; believe me this is by no means a definitive list but maybe, just maybe one of them will spark an interest and you can continue 2020 with a bit more va va voom and desire to complete a few challenges along that way that will not only get you fitter but get your outside, feeling healthier, packing in that vitamin D and treating your body and mind to some much needed and well earned love.
I guarantee you’ll have some fun along the way!