Achieving Fitness Goals: Multiple Sources of Motivation
One of the great things about entering the blogging world are groups like @FitApproach and #SweatPink.
Sometimes it is hard, even for us talkative folks, to think about something new and interesting to write about. The blogger theme for this week, however, resonated with a number of the Skortaholics. We are thinking about our goals and have actually taken a new and refreshed approach to them this year, grabbing hold and putting them in action.
We are a varied group. And our goals and our approaches to them are as varied as we are. Best of all, we keep ourselves accountable as a group and provide encouragement for whatever goals we are trying to reach.
Here are the approaches a few of us are taking to meet our goals:
A Coach and A Gang.
In my mind, I do not look like a runner. A runner is someone tall and thin — a complete opposite of me. Despite this belief, in 2004, I had a goal of running a marathon. I joined Team in Training and received a simple training plan TNT guaranteed would get me across the finish line. And I DID! It took 4 hours and 42 minutes, and I was addicted.
I kept running. I ran half marathons and marathons continually for the next few years — taking time off for minor injuries and pregnancy, but I was a runner. Each marathon I hoped, and I wished, to beat my previous time. I guess I was counting on magic because I never changed my simple training plan from 2004.
Finally, I woke up.
To run faster, one has to actually RUN FASTER! I discovered a more involved plan from Runner’s World Magazine: “4 hours or bust” known affectionately by the Skortaholics as “The Paper.” I had a NEW GOAL, not just to finish, but to finish in under 4 hours. I repeated The Paper training plan 4 or 5 times, I improved, but never reached my goal. I was stuck.
This is where my husband comes in. For my 46th birthday he gave me a coach. I felt a little silly asking her to help me run faster, after all, I’ve been running for 11 years, I should know how to do this by now. But after starting with Coach Erin in May, by June, I was already feeling stronger.
She is teaching me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. She holds me accountable, I pay her and I know she is looking at my results, therefore I run. In addition to my coach, I have my Skortaholic ladies. The girls are my motivation and my support. When they get stronger, fitter and faster, I am there. We are in this together.
On November 7, I will be running my 14th marathon. This time I have a little more than “magic” to get me across the finish line.
Realizing Calories Count.
The thing about marathon training is, well, all that running. And sometimes we assume we can eat whatever we want because we run.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, this has been quite a change for me. I lost 10 lbs. and am more mindful of the food I’m eating. I also love adding in my miles to earn more food!
More coaching love and trying new activities.
Longevity runs in my family. My grandmother was taking care of all household chores and gardening well into her late 90’s. My long term goal is to stay healthy, so hopefully, I’ll be able to take care of myself like my grandmother did for many years.
I believe that staying active will help me achieve this long term goal. After I became serious about exercising, I learned that I needed a schedule and variety to keep me on task.
When I first starting exercising, I was happy working out with exercise videos at home before heading to work each day. When that become boring and no longer a challenge, I joined a gym and started working out on cardio equipment. When I started running and registered for my first race, I discovered that exercising was much easier when I had a schedule to follow. The half marathon plan I found online had me running 3 days a week, attending bootcamp classes 2 days a week, and going to spin class 1 day per week. Having a piece of paper telling me what to do felt like freedom.
This year I decided it was time for a change again and hired a running coach.
(Yep, I also share Coach Erin!) I love the challenging workouts that Coach Erin is having me do. I’m running on soccer fields, on trails, and actually doing mile repeats (worst workout ever!) for the first time.
I’ve also decided that while spinning is fun, I needed another challenge. I just bought a bike and am riding outdoors. While I love riding outside, it is harder than anything I’ve done in a while. But that’s OK because I know that the only way to keep me motivated and on task is to keep challenging myself.
Attempting what seems like an unattainable goal.
During 4 years of extreme work stress and several life-altering personal events, I had been staying sane, and also treading water, with marathon training. My husband did Ironman® Louisville in 2007, Annette’s husband did it in 2011 and 2012. And I bike escorted the pros each year. Long ago I did a half distance tri. With a break finally from work, a switch flipped.
No day but today. Jonathan Larson, Rent.
I’d always wanted to try an Ironman® distance triathlon. But wanting is not doing. I took the leap and signed up for Ironman® Louisville, hired Coach Erin, and started a journey. I do not know if I will finish. I do not know if I will even make it to the start line — things like injury, illness, equipment failures — they happen.
But I do not regret for one minute picking a goal for myself that seems unattainable, but finding out how strong I can be and what my body can do. It’s empowering and it’s humbling.
Focusing on Family Is a Goal.
Settings goals and accomplishing them has always been my mantra in life. I especially love setting “healthy” fitness goals. I am happy when I’m healthy! However, I generally need a goal to bump me up to the next level of fitness. Hence – I like signing up for races each Spring and Fall to keep me motivated.
But sometimes other “life” goals trump all fitness goals for a season. And I’ve come to terms that “IT IS OKAY TO REST FOR A SEASON!”
Last Fall I put my heart and soul (and all my spare time) into qualifying for Boston – which I finally accomplished. This Fall my running goals may seem weak because I am just maintaining a base level of running and fitness. This is because one of my “life” goals is finally becoming a reality.
After almost 5 years of waiting, waiting and more waiting to adopt a little girl from the Philippines – it is finally happening!!! We are leaving in a couple weeks to pick up our 2 year old daughter in the Philippines! This will be child #6 for our active family. This life event trumps all running goals this fall and I’M OKAY WITH THAT!
There is a time and a season for everything and it’s ok for athletes to have different goals for a season. I’m still a “runner” and I will still squeeze those runs in – but it’s not my life focus at the moment and life is still good! And I’m am HAPPY!
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
Have you tried a coach?
What goals have you set and how have you reached them?