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The beginning of the year is typically the time when we think about what we want to accomplish in the New Year. This reflection often causes us to set New Year’s resolutions.
How can we set goals that are meaningful, realistic, and do-able? I developed the acronym R.E.A.P. which stands for REALISTIC, EVALUATION, ACTION, PERSEVERANCE.
Make sure your goals are challenging, but realistic. If a goal seems overwhelming you probably won’t accomplish it. The good thing about running is that it’s an inclusive sport. Your height, weight, age, background, and education don’t matter. You can still run. There are very few people who will be able to run in the Olympics or win a marathon, but there are still many running goals to accomplish.
If you’ll be running your first marathon, don’t try to qualify for Boston the first time. That’s simply not an attainable goal for most runners and will lead to discouragement at your effort. The goal of your first marathon should be to cross the finish line strong and be happy with your achievement whether it took you 4 hours or 6 hours. When setting running goals you should think big, but you also need to evaluate whether you have the time, physical ability, and motivation to accomplish the goal.
Before you can set and achieve goals you need to evaluate what you really want. Don’t let your desires and goals be dictated by others. Yes, it may be popular to run a half or full marathon, but the reality is that this goal is hard. Decide if this is a challenge that you really want to accomplish. If you want it bad enough, you can achieve it. However, if your motivation to run a marathon is to please someone else or to try and lose weight, that probably won’t get you across the finish line.
The proper motivation will help you achieve your running goals. Motivational factors that lead toward successfully completing a marathon include
- a desire to live a healthy lifestyle
- wanting to achieve a personal goal
- enjoying competition
- being affiliated with a group of healthy goal oriented individuals
- increasing self-esteem, enhancing psychological coping mechanisms
- finding greater meaning in your life
You need to tap into the motivational factor that resonates with you and use that motivation to get you through the intense training necessary to cross the finish line.
All the dreams and good intentions in the world aren’t worth anything without action. There is a time to prepare and there is a time to take action.
Your goals should also be specific and measurable. For example, I will run a half marathon in May 2012. I will start training on Feb. 1st using a specific training plan.
You also need to surround yourself with the right information and supportive people. We all need encouragement and positive feedback. Interact with the Marathon Training Academy Facebook page and join the Academy.
There is always going to be something that tests your resolve. It’s important to not be controlled by the moment. Everything worth doing is going to be hard at times. In order to achieve the long term benefits that you want, you have to hang in there, even when the going is tough. Look at where you want to be in the long term and make your decisions based on these goals.
In order to achieve your goals you’ll need to have mental toughness. In fact, you’ll need to learn to block mental sabotage.
Running is tough. It’s tough physically. It’s tough mentally. But once you’ve broken through the “perceived pain” barrier, you’ll find yourself in a new state of mind, body and soul. Your overall well-being will improve tremendously. You just have to experience it. Keith Combs
I truly believe that if you will develop running goals REALISTICALLY, EVALUATE, take ACTION, and PERSEVERE you will achieve your dreams.
Quick Tip: How to Reduce Cramping in the Later Miles of Your Marathon
I use Hammer Endurolytes to maintain electrolyte balance and avoid cramping in the latter part of the marathon.
With Endurolytes you’re assured of getting all the right minerals in exactly the right balance. Endurolytes comes in capsules or powder form. You can swallow them, or open them and mix your own amount into your water bottle, whichever is most convenient for you.
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We Wish You a Very Blessed 2012.
Cheers! from Angie, Trevor, Liam, Gavin, and Riley
We hope you REAP the rewards of running in the new year!
Leave a comment and share your running goals for 2012.