Hello there blog readers! I'm going to start this post off with a few disclaimers.
- I don't necessarily consider myself a "runner" but I have been running a lot lately.
- I've pretty much never reached any of my running goals in the past, but this one is different.
- I had the idea for this post as I was running in the heat with a pretty good headwind pushing me back and even though I wanted to stop I kept running.
I've set numerous running goals in the past and yet never reached them, so what qualifies me to write this post?!?! I would say that I have a lot of experience setting goals and I've run a bunch, so I'm just going to share my experiences with you. I say this one is different because I've set a pretty big goal (for me anyway) and I've already ran more miles in 16 days than I have in months!
My goal is to run 100 miles in two months. It's actually not "my" goal. One of my friends that is deployed with me casually mentioned that she wanted to run 100 miles while were on our deployment. I thought, why not, I'm gonna do that too. Then I took it to the next level and recruited even more people to join in, including my husband and brother!
Here are my steps to setting running goals and staying motived to reach them.
1. Make the goal a challenge, but still achievable.
What I mean by that is don't make it something super easy, like running a minute every day, but don't make it something crazy hard like running a marathon in a weeks time. I've run off and on for a while now and when my friend said 100 miles it seemed like something that was pretty hard, but I thought maybe, just maybe I could reach that goal. So strive for something like that. It sounds pretty hard, but there's something in you that says you can probably pull it off with some hard work.
2. Do it with friends
I posted the challenge on a group fitness board on Facebook and invited anyone else to join in. Even though I am deployed and thousands and thousands of miles away, it is super fun to have loved ones from home running "with" me. I used the Nike+ app to create a challenge and I invited anyone else that also had the app to join in. Now we can see each other's progress and cheer each other on. There may also be a little bit of friendly competition going to see who is ahead.
Even better than having virtual running buddies is to have one in person. Several times when I've been running with my friend here I have only kept going, or heck.. I've only started, because she was there! It's more fun to go with someone... even if you're slower than they are! We've both helped get each other started and keep each other moving.
3. Get Crafty
I am a visual person and I love graphic design so I had to make a visual tracker for the 100 mile goal. I was inspired by Elise's daily goal tracker and came up with a simple visual of 100 circles, one to represent each mile.
After all, the best way to tackle 100 miles is just one mile at a time! It's a lot of fun to see the progress and to color in each circle as I complete another mile. You don't have to get crazy on the computer to do this. Just make tick marks on a piece of paper or write the number of miles each day. Just have something tangible that you can see (without having to log onto your phone) everyday to help inspire and motivate you. I have mine posted on my locker in my room so I can see it every day.
4. Share your progress and your struggles
I think I've posted almost every run to Facebook via my Nike+ app. People may be annoyed by it, but so far it's only brought positive comments and words of encouragement and motivation. There are plenty of times when I've ran and felt so slow at first or super sluggish (don't eat three+ cookies after dinner!) so I've shared that too. Running is HARD. It's definitely no cake walk...errr cake run?!?
Just get started. No time like the present, right?!? Well, I will admit that being deployed is probably making this goal a tad easier to achieve. Being gone sucks because I don't have my family, friends, dog or house, but because I don't have these things I can spend my free time running and working out. Depending on your goal you pick the best time for you to start, and if a freak snowstorm dumps 14" of snow on you, well then extend the time table for the goal a little. Just make sure you start. Don't talk yourself out of it for sill reasons. Getting started is the hardest part. Once you get into a rhythm it's much easier to maintain.... plus some friendly competition never hurt :)
So let's recap.
First, pick something that's challenging but that you think you could pull off with some hard work. Announce it to the world and get your friends to join in either virtually or in person. Monitor your progress visually and share that progress (and the struggles too) with others. Finally, get those feet a movin'!
Do you want to join in? Download the goal tracker and join us! If you're on the Nike+ running app let me know and I'll see if I can add you to our challenge.