Category Archives: marathon

Know Your Limits, Then Crush Them

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” A goal is a dream with a deadline” – Napoleon Hill

This post is not meant to be some self help guru speak about goal setting and changing your life. It is meant to be a practical look at setting big goals, and the power and momentum that comes with them.

Big goals motivate and inspire us and the people around us. Think of a time when you set a goal that you had no idea that you could reach. The bar is set different for everyone. Your goal could be to run across the country, or finish a 10K. Whatever that goal is it needs to stretch the limits of your perceived abilities. (aka step out of your comfort zone. That term is completely over used.)

Here’s my best advice for planning and achieving big goals.

Start with why.

When you pick your big goal, ask yourself. “Why am I doing this?”

Are you testing your limits?

Do you think it would be cool?

No matter the reason, be sure it is a reason that means something to you personally. This is intrinsic motivation, and the most powerful form of motivation. Outside motivation is short lived and weak.  Thrill of posting your accomplishment to social media will last a day or so. The feeling from accomplishing something personally important to you will last forever.

Know your limits, then crush them

Achieving big goals takes time, and normally more time than you think. When setting a big goal, assess where you are currently. Then determine how much progress you need to make, and the time it will take to get there. Be self aware, and realistic with your time frame. It’s a balancing act of picking a goal that challenges you, but doesn’t set you up to burn out. The best goals are ones that are slightly out of reach.

If you want a shortcut to your goal. Talk with people that have already achieved your goal. Get their feedback about your time frame, and current fitness. Find out what worked for them and what did not. You can use their experience to accelerate your own progress. Everyone progresses at different paces, but the quickest way to meet your goals is hard work and smart training.

Celebrate along the way

Your big goal make take months or years to accomplish. Set up milestones along the way to measure progress and celebrate. These smaller goals will keep you more focused, and motivated along the way.

Many people training for their first marathon have never run more than a half marathon before. As the plan progresses they will be running their longest run ever each week. Every time they hit a new long distance they should celebrate, and know they hit a new milestone toward their goal.

Enjoy the process

Life is short and time is precious. Spend your time pursuing something you enjoy. The goal is just the finish line, and a small part of the process.

Let’s take the marathon example again. Your goal is to finish a marathon. Where’s the start line? The start line is when you make it your goal and start training. The race is 26.2 miles, but your will train many more miles than that. You better enjoy running, or this will be a long miserable process.

It’s only a failure when you give up

“A failure is only a lesson, until you make an excuse.” – M. Jordan

If you are truly pushing your limits, you will encounter bumps in the road. There are two paths you can take accept defeat or learn from it. Your goal is always in reach if you believe it. History is full of examples, Lincoln, Edison, and Col. Sanders. If you have a moment, look up their stories. They had unbelievable persistence in the face of failure.

When we fail our minds will start to pay tricks with our motivation. That crack in the armor will let doubts creep in. We then rationalize these doubts, and start to talk ourselves out of our goal. These rationalizations are excuses, and excuses are weak. Excuses will sabotage all of the progress you made already.

My best strategy to combat failure and excuses is to decide I will meet me goal at the start of the process. Once you make up your mind, doubts won’t derail you. You are already know the outcome, you just need to put in the work.  Your results may not come on your original time frame, but with persistence they will come.

 

 

 

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Workout Wednesday – Hardest Workout Ever – Rest Day

Welcome to Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I  post a new Triathlon specific workout. (for free, What a Country!) If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (kidding)

Rest

 

Sorry for the misleading title, but when you think about it, rest is the hardest workout. It instills fear in us that  if we take a day off, we will become fat and slow overnight. In reality is takes up to two weeks of inactivity before you start to lose your fitness.

Two years ago I had a heavy training year for me. When I looked back at my training log at the end of the year. I took three full rest days the entire year. What? That’s not right. I also become over trained twice that year, and was sick more than normal.

Rest is an important part of the training program. Rest days should be treated just like workouts, and performed with the same focus. The benefits of rest and recovery are:

  • Avoiding Overuse Injuries
  • Restoring Glycogen to your muscles
  • Avoiding mental burnout
  • Actually spending time with your friends and family

Here’s the nasty things that come with NO rest or recovery:

  • Over training
  • Inadequate Sleep
  • Colds
  • Slow recovery
  • Lack of sex drive
  • Moodiness

(I’ve experienced all of these, but not all at the same time.)

Unless you are a full time athlete with no other obligations or stressors in your life you will need 1-2 rest days a week.  Ideally one of those days should be complete rest, and the other one can be active recovery.

Active recovery workouts:

  • 30 min jog @ 50% HR
  • Walk with your significant other
  • Bike ride with your kids
  • Light cross training

Inactive workouts:

  • Netflix binge watching marathon
  • Sit on the beach with cool beverage
  • Sleeping in past 5:30am

I can hear the little mental objects swirling in your head. ” But I’m a triathlete and I need to get in all of these workouts.” If you want to improve consistently, and not burnout or have a higher risk of injury, rest has to be a priority as well. Schedule  your training weeks to include the rest days.  If you miss a workout because of a overly busy day, don’t worry about making it up, use it as a rest day. Also, if you are are plateauing in your progress, step back and see if more recovery will help, before piling on more work and intensity.

One last thing. The more outside stress you have in your life the more important the rest and recovery. During times of high stress, listen to your body and try not to just push through. These times are the highest risk for burnout and over training.

 

Monday Motivation – Full Effort

Have a Marvelous Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.” – Gandhi

For the past mile and half my legs were on the verge of seizing. My quads screamed from the previous 23 mile effort. I was a mile from my 6th marathon finish, and my goal time was in sight. All I needed to do was run the last mile without slowing down. My body was screaming at me to slow down and walk. My face was a picture of pain, and it felt like someone was punching me in the gut. I made the final turn, and could see the finish. I picked up the pace slightly, and my legs protested. Now my body and my mind were telling me to quit, just walk, it will ok. I would not relent. This was not just the finish of the race, but a finish of four months of training and sacrifice. As I crossed the line, I raised my hands in gratitude for being able to run such a distance.

I finished one minute over my original goal. It was still a huge PR, but most importantly, I knew I had given full effort. There is nothing worse than the feeling of doubt, knowing you could have done more. I know from experience. That voice in my head telling me to slow down has a won on some occasions. I only have my self to blame for my lack of effort.

When you fight through the resistance and push through the pain, there is no sweeter feeling. You are in full control of your life and actions. Instead of comparing your times and efforts to others, your only measure should be your own full effort. If you are giving all you have it is a victory, no matter what the result.

Kick in the Butt Monday – Easy Days

Merry Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Easy Day

 

The workouts that seem hard now, will soon be easy, if you keep training.  Maybe you can’t run a mile without stopping, or swim a 100M without be winded. Don’t give up, keep training, and soon your will be amazed by your progress.

I’m currently training for my fifth marathon. When I look back to the training for my first, it’s a night and day difference. My first 18 mile run ended in disaster. I had never run that far, and at mile 14 both of my calves seized, and my wife had to come pick me up.  That was a hard day for me. In my current training plan I have three 20 milers. I can complete them with little struggle. I still bring my phone, in case of disaster.

What workouts used to be difficult for you, that you can now complete with ease?

Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – Fat Girl to IM

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from Tamsyn Smith:

diary photo MK marathon

Tamsyn:

Here’s a photo from the end of my first ever marathon in April 2012. It was cold, wet and windy and the course was flooded and rerouted, so I had to run an extra half mile, but I did it 🙂 Since then I’ve run another 4 marathons and have started doing triathlons.

I blog about my experience at http://fatgirltoironman.co.uk
What a great smile on what looks like a tough day. Way to persevere toward your goal. Check out Tamsyn’s blog, she is very entertaining, and gives great info from her point of view.

Like Tamsyns photo, here’s some more: Fantastic Finish Foto

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firstimetri@gmail.com.