How to Hit Training Goals
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” ~Vince Pfaff
The journey to the end starts with knowing where you actually want to go. Aimlessly wandering around the gym will yield results equal to that practice. If you want something bad enough, you must set a goal to hit it. So, what do you want to achieve?
One of the most common goals I hear in the gym is wanting to lose weight. Another common goal is tone and tighten up. Runners like to set distance goals or a goal to run a specific race. This year I decided that I wanted to focus my goals around running with a secondary goal of getting my bikini body back.
Goal Setting 101
Now that you have a general idea of what you want to achieve, it’s time to chunk it down to manageable pieces. In other words, chose a goal date – this is the date you want to hit your training goal. Some life coaches don’t encourage the assignment of a time limit to goals, but in the gym and training world, it is imperative that you set a timeline. The timeline gives you the opportunity to set micro-goals. These micro-goals are the weeks within the training regimen that dictate the intensity level.
Since I am focusing on running this year, I will share a breakdown of the goals I have set to achieve success in my running throughout the year.
Chunking the Goal Down
A friend of mine sent me a link to join the Run the Edge 2019 Challenge. This is a year-long challenge to complete as many miles as you can during 2019. The ultimate goal is to complete 2,019 miles! Whoa!! That’s a lot of miles. Now, I don’t have any desires to run a marathon this year (or ever again for that matter) so I have to be strategic about getting my miles in. This means planning to get the miles in.
I already walk the dog at least twice a day. I count those miles. And I do the elliptical and indoor bike when the weather is crappy outside. Yes, I count those miles, too. How do I plan to get the other miles in? If you haven’t yet done the calculations, to hit 2,019 miles in 2019, a person has to run 168.25 miles a month, or an average of 38.83 miles a week. Holy crap!
Suddenly, there is an overwhelming feeling of “This is never gonna happen,” going through my head. So, let’s chunk it down.
First micro-goal, pick a race. This is easy to do; there are a ton of local races to participate in. I skipped picking a race in January since I was just getting back into running condition. My first race of the year will be the 5K at the Almond Blossom Run in Durham. This race also has a 10K, but I decided to ease my way in to racing again. I would also like to add that by “racing,” I mean enjoying the scenery of almond blossoms through the agriculture back roads of Durham, California. I haven’t run this race in many years. In fact, I remember being rained on the last time I participated in this race. Boy, that was a cold day.
Now, I have something to train for. Although the race is simply a short 5K, or 3.1 miles, it gives me something to train for. I know I have to be able to run at least three miles to survive the run.
As I wrote my February goals down at the end of January, I came to the decision that I should pick another race for the next month. Hence, I came up with the micro-goal of a race each month, and therefore, continuing my journey to hit my big running goal of 2,019 miles in 2019.
If this is your first time attempting a training goal, my first suggestion is to get a coach or hire a personal trainer. The wealth of knowledge and expertise a professional coach or trainer can provide is sure to propel to faster towards your goal. When I competed in my bikini competitions, I hired a coach. As a certified personal trainer, I knew how to do the exercises, I just needed an expert in the area that I was looking to achieve my goals. Taking first in my class proved that hiring a coach was the right thing to do.
If you can’t afford a personal trainer or coach, look for small group classes that you can join. The support of a small group is tremendous. The other people in the group are there to workout and encourage each other. They are there to celebrate your victories and cheer you on when you think you can’t go any further. Check out B Fit’s small group training classes here.
You can also join a running group or a running training program. Locally, Fleet Feet of Chico has many different training groups to help runners achieve their goals from beginners to advanced and 5K to marathon distances.
Get support at home, too. This is so important! Get your spouse, your kids, your partner or your family involved in the training process. They don’t need to be there every step of the way if they can’t, or don’t want to be that involved, but they do need to be supportive in some form. This can be as simple as they change the way they are eating to match your nutrition goals. If they don’t want to eat the same food you’re preparing, make sure they understand and support your eating habits. If you need to go for run, let them know your plans – when you plan to run and how far you are going. This will open the communication channels for both of you to fully enjoy the process while making strides, literally and figuratively, toward the end result.
Your support system could be outside your family unit, too. Do you have friends or colleagues looking to hit similar goals? This could be your accountability support system. Maybe they become your running buddies for your long runs. It feels so good to have a running buddy on long runs to solve all the world’s problems. (My runner friends understand this one.)
No one wants to admit failure at the outset. I am here to tell you that setbacks happen. The question is not will there be setbacks. The question is when they do rear their ugly head, how do you handle those setbacks? Setbacks could range from injury to weather to that little voice in your head trying to tell you lies about how you can’t do it.
Let’s return to my goal of running this year. A minor injury in my foot could create a setback for me. Running hurts because of the injury in the foot. How do I continue to prepare for the race I signed up for this month?
I know that if I can get on the elliptical or indoor bike, I can get the necessary cardio in to compensate for the lack of running. Once I feel better, great! I haven’t lost much of the cardio.
Scenario setback number two – the weather. I don’t have the desire to go run in the pouring down rain and crazy ass wind. What do I do? See above for the same result or get on the dreadmill (ahem, treadmill).
Setback scenario number three – there isn’t enough time. Oh, boy, I am way too familiar with this excuse, or setback. This one really is an excuse. There is always time, even for a schedule that looks like mine. Again, see above for answers to the setback – getting on the elliptical or bike, or better yet, grab the dog and head out for a quick 10-minute jog. Ten minutes is better than no minutes. Any movement is better than sitting on the couch. Still can’t find the time? Maybe it’s time to evaluate sleep patterns. I am a huge advocate for the right amount of sleep, which multiple studies have indicated that between seven and nine hours a night is optimal. To beat this setback of not enough time, schedule it in. This might mean going to bed an hour earlier so that you can get up earlier to get your run or workout in. Start off with small adjustments to your alarm, like 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t try to jump straight to trying to get up an entire hour earlier. You are setting yourself up for failure if you do this. Instead of getting up at 6:00 am, try 5:45 am for a week.
As I mentioned before, enabling a strong support system can really help you tackle setbacks. Get a workout buddy, a running partner, or hire a coach or trainer. By having someone relying on you, there is a strong affinity to not let that person down. You have accountability. If you have spent the money on a coach or trainer, you want to get the most for your money. Don’t waste it on excuses.
If you have other setbacks and want to discuss how can overcome them, send me an email at Sara@ChicoBFit.comor come by the gym. I would be happy to help you figure out how to hit your training goals.