Keep Motivation Up by Setting Goals Within Goals
I want to run a half marathon personal best time. She hopes to beat her sister’s 5k time. He wants to challenge himself to reach a new distance in a race.
We all have thoughts about what might be our next big thing. Once in a while, that thought reemerges over and over again until it becomes a dream. If we give something enough time and attention, and truly plan out how we might achieve that dream, it becomes a goal.
Planning, executing, evaluating and adjusting along the way make the goal achievable. For runners and walkers, goals are often about going faster, farther, or both. One of the best ways to test yourself while on your way toward your big dream, and to stay motivated, is to set smaller goals along the way.
The Ohio Health Capital City Half, Patron Quarter Marathon and Commit to be Fit 5k are set for April 29. If your goal is to run or walk one of these races, local companies M3S Sports and Premier Races, along with their partners, have the resources to help you plan your training, set goals along the way, and test your progress.
Plan For Success
Find a schedule that works for your level of fitness and goals; then make it a priority. You might have a plan from a coach, something you’ve used previously, or one of the online schedules that M3S and Ohio Health provide for Cap City.
Part of following a plan is determining when and how you are going to train. Whether you prefer the feeling of achievement gained from an early morning run, or the wind-down from a stressful day, commit to it. Write it down in your calendar, and tell the important people in your life. If your husband knows that you are getting up at 5 a.m. to run for 50 minutes, you both know and can plan child care responsibilities. When you tell your boss that you have to meet your running buddy at 6:30 p.m., she’s less likely to ask for one more thing at 5:45 p.m. It might seem selfish to make yourself and your schedule a priority, but you might find you have more energy and motivation in other areas of life when you make time for fitness.
Measure Your Progress with Training Races
Although training plans build week upon week, it can be difficult to judge your own fitness progress by training alone. Running a training race gives you a true measure of where your fitness is heading.
M3S Sports has two races leading up to Cap City: 5th Line 5k and St. Patrick’s Day 4 Miler at Kinsale. These are great tests for those running the quarter or half marathons at Cap City and fit nicely into the training schedules.
Another opportunity is the Scioto Miles Training Series, which features races on a 5k loop course on March 19 and April 9. Runners and walkers choose a 5k, 10k, or 15k (one, two, or three loops) — whichever fits best into their training plan. Remember, these are tests but not the final exam (really there is no final exam for runners). Races help measure current fitness, but they are not the only measure. You define what success means in your fitness journey, but you can use races as a tool to help you toward that success.
Goals Within the Goal
Running a race before your main goal not only tests your progress; you can also use it to practice proper pacing. Maybe you tend to go too hard in the first mile, and by mile two are struggling to hang on. A practice race allows an opportunity to adjust if something isn’t quite right. Try setting performance goals as well: feel strong at mile three, keep an even pace over five miles, stay relaxed through weariness. Setting and reaching performance goals serves to improve your overall race, when the big day comes, and gives you confidence in your new skills.
Enjoy the Journey
Cap City training covers 17 weeks. Races are over in a matter of minutes or hours. Fitness, on the other hand, is a lifetime endeavor. Even if it’s not running or walking, find something you love doing, and wellness will become a source of joy, not a chore.
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