So, as much as I don’t like New Year’s resolutions, I am a huge proponent of goals – well defined, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goals. Goals can be an excellent motivator, they help to keep us on track and accountable. And if you are anything like me, you need some accountability in your busy life. Today, I am going to quickly look back at my 2015 fitness goals and then share with you my goals for 2016.
Last year I set three primary fitness goals: run 1000 miles over the course of the year (ding!), become a certified fitness professional (ding!) and run two half-marathons (ding!). Late in the year, satisfied with how my consistent running was progressing, I added a fourth goal, which was to complete a 15K in under 1 hour and 20 minutes (ding! ding!).
Each of the goals I set were aspirational – I had to work hard to make them happen. And to be honest, I felt a little bit of fear in the pit of my stomach as I set each one.
My 1000 miles goal was definitely the most transformative. I learned to run in the wind, rain and snow. Before last year I considered myself a fair-weather runner. If the sun was shining and it was between 35-75 I would venture out. Last year, however, in order to get my miles in, I ran when the mercury was only in the teens, I slogged through torrential downpours (and didn’t melt) and I trotted through blazing heat and humidity. And not only am I better runner for it, I am a better person. I learned that I am stronger than I think. That the weather will not dictate how I use my day and that a little bit of discomfort is the fastest way to personal growth.
Becoming a fitness professional wasn’t far behind in the transformational category. I knew the actually coursework and test wouldn’t be that hard. I have had a LOT of schooling in my life and joke that I could be a professional student; but, the decision to actually embark on a new career was a big deal. I had been considering it for quite awhile before I found the courage to pursue my goal of helping others to become happier and healthier. But I am so glad I did. I truly love what I do for the first time in my life. I feel like I am finally doing what I am meant to do, in an a fun and supportive environment. I’m lucky to have a flexible schedule which allows me to be with my children when the need me. And, perhaps most importantly, I have also connected with some excellent clients and seeing them make progress is energizing, satisfying, rewarding and empowering.
I ran the Disney Princess Half-Marathon in February and the Hershey Half-Marathon in October. Both races were terrific. They were professionally planned and organized, high energy and tons of fun. I was blessed with beautiful weather on both days and turned in strong performances at both races. I decided to add a third mid-distance race last year, the Hot Chocolate 15K in November. I knew that having an end of the year race would help me reach my 1000 mile goal. I also thought that the shorter distance would allow me to push myself harder and challenge myself with a time goal – which I had not done since my second half marathon a couple of years ago. So instead of tossing my shoes in the closet after Hershey I took two days off and was back on the track on Wednesday. I incorporated more speed work and intervals and added some tempo runs to prepare for a specific time goal, that was definitely a challenging one for me. If I hadn’t set the goal, I know that I wouldn’t have run a 1:18 15K. There were a couple moments during that race when I felt like I was losing it and would have loved to dialed it back a bit. But with that SMART goal in my head I pushed myself harder and achieved that time I so wanted.
Run 3 5Ks with my family. – This is a tricky goal, because it is one that I am not in complete control of. I can’t make anyone run with me. Therefore, it’s not the kind of goal I’d encourage my clients to make. But, as the CEO of our family I do have quite a bit of sway. I can encourage and inspire and cajole – and sign us all up for races. 🙂 And most importantly, I can be a good role model. I can log my miles happily, share how good my I feel after a run and make sure that I make running a fun activity for all of us to participate in together.
Log (at least) one long run (10+ miles) each month. I know that 10 miles isn’t a long run for many of you. But it is for me. I have no marathon training plans in my future and with everything else I’ve got going on this year, 10 miles is an achievable but aspirational goal to hit each month. I set this goal because, as of now, I am not signed up for any long races, but I want to be able to jump into one at a moment’s notice and in order to do that I need to maintain my endurance. This goal has the added benefit of force scheduling some me time each month as well as some time to think and reflect.
Stretch everyday. Are you surprised to see this goal on my list? I know flexibility is an important part of overall fitness. I know it helps prevent injury, leads to better athletic performance and better functional fitness. I’ve written on the blog about it before and I always incorporate it into my classes and training sessions. I send my clients home with lists of stretches and admonish them to stretch every night. But when it comes to following my own advice, this is one I struggle with. And it’s ridiculous – because even just 10 minutes of stretching invigorates and energizes me, loosens my muscles and improves my mood. Not to mention how much easier it makes running, climbing stairs and just about everything else. So, in order to “force” myself to stretch daily I am trying to incorporate daily morning stretches into my routine, as well as putting foam rolling sessions on my calendar.
Run a sub-25 minute 5K. There’s that time goal again. This will definitely be my most challenging goal; but, I know I can do it. I have decided to dedicate my summer to an intermediate/advanced 5K training plan to try and improve my speed and efficiency as a runner. Which will hopefully put me in great shape to add a fall half to my race schedule, should I choose to.
And that’s it. My goals this year are a lot less ambitious than last year. They reflect the fact that I am juggling two new careers, as well as a busy family life and that I need to set aside some me time to I don’t burn out during this transition year. But they also reflect aspects of my fitness that are important to me and in need of some improvement, so I think they will guide me well this year.
How about you? What are your fitness goals>