If you want to bike across Canada or run the Blue Nose Marathon, you can’t just jump in. GoodLife trainer Jonathan Ells shares his tips to start training for your next big event.

1. See a doctor before starting any exercise program. Get your blood pressure checked and rule out any health problems.

2. Decide what success looks like (distance, time, speed) so you know what to strive for. “Once you have that in your head you can’t say I’m going to start two Mondays from now,” says Ells. “You have to start today.”

3. Talk to someone who’s done this event before. Ask what to expect.

4. Make a training plan. Work with a personal trainer or coach, or find a biking/running buddy and research your plan online. “Strive for the best plan possible but any plan is better than no plan at all,” says Ells.

5. Up your water intake. “Water optimizes all of the processes in our body, from the metabolic and digestive systems to blood pressure and mussel hydration.” Ellis recommends 3 to 6 litres a day, depending on your activity level and body mass.