Milestone Week

Brian Ayers  —  February 24, 2014 — Leave a comment

When I started running again, back in July of 2012, I never imagined weeks like this would exist. On July 4, 2012 I ran/walked a 5K in just under 31 minutes… and then hurt for the rest of the week. I was out-of-shape and my goal of someday running a marathon seemed way out of reach.

Fast forward to this past week. I’ve just completed my highest milage and most intense training week to date. Over 51 miles of running. I feel great having done it, and even more remarkably, I actually feel good physically (not worn-out & broken down like I did my first few higher milage weeks in 2013).

Screenshot 2014-02-24 14.54.48weeklydailymile


I’ve been training long enough now to have some pretty audacious goals (like eventually qualifying for and running Boston). I also know enough now to know that 51 mile weeks probably aren’t going to get me there… but I also know that celebrating milestones is important. So, I’m taking a brief moment to enjoy my first 50+ mile week.

Now, back to training.

The start of a new year is always a time for setting new goals. This goes for life in general (work, family, financial, etc.) and also running goals.

Your goal might be a year-long run streak, a first marathon, a new PR, or a BQ… Regardless the goal, the tendency, at least if you’re like me, is to share it openly and publicly. Twitter, Facebook, and blog posts all over the internet are full of examples of this right now

I’ve often shared goals publicly on purpose. I’ve usually thought: ‘If I tell a bunch of people I’m going to do it, I’ll be less likely to back-out of doing it.” …and this sometimes works.

Today I read a blogpost that made me rethink this approach. It’s a great post & you should read the whole thing, but here is the part that hit me square between the eyes:

…if you shared your resolution in public, you’re already at a disadvantage. When you share a goal publicly, your brain enjoys the sharing in the same way it enjoys the achievement itself, and you’ve lost some of your motivation.

Woah! That’s definitely something I’d never considered, and something that makes a lot of sense!

I do think that there’s a lot of value in sharing goals with select people who can help you achieve them and/or hold you accountable as you attempt them… but maybe we should pause for a minute before we hit ‘publish’ on that “Top 10 Goals for 2014” post, or before we tell everyone at the office that this is the year…’!

Note: This doesn’t just apply to running. These principles can/should be applied in almost any area of life.

So here we are. It’s a brand new year. Time to make some new years resolutions.

Most new years resolutions (88% according to this article), though made with good intentions, tend to fail… and they tend to do so rather quickly. However, if done right, new years resolutions can be the start of something great.

Here’s what, I believe, you need to succeed:

1. A Plan

I’m surprised a how many people make resolutions (things like: ‘eat healthy‘ or ‘start working-out‘) but have no plan to accomplish it. If you’re really going to make a life change, you definitely need a plan to do so.

If your resolution has to do with starting to run, Runners World has a bunch of great (cheap) plans here. A simple Google search will turn-up a bunch of free plans and others that people want to sell you.

But a plan is only a start…

2. A Coach

When you download a plan off the internet, you’re doing so without really having an idea of what kind of training you should be doing. The person who designed the plan didn’t have you, your goals, or your current fitness level in mind.  The plan you download also will not be able to monitor your your progress, make changes, or help you along the way. This is why I believe a coach is key.

A coach is able to help you make sure your plan and your goals work together. Your coach can help you along the way too, should you encounter an injury, miss workouts due to other commitments, or change your goals. A coach can also give helpful tips & advice along the way; things you’d not get with just you and a plan.

Depending where you live, there are likely lots of great options for finding a coach. A great place to start your coaching search is by asking-around at your local running shop(s). Here in Northern Virginia, I have a team of coaches through Potomac River Running Training Programs. I know that, without the great coaching I get there,  I’d never accomplish my running goals. So, you need a plan, a coach, and also

3. A Team

Professional athletes, even those in individual sports, have a team. They have a group of people who they train with; people who challenge them, encourage them, hold them accountable, and are just there to do the workout with. If pro athletes need this, then I really need this. Thankfully, the training program I’m a part of has group runs and track workouts built-in so I have a great team of people to train with. However, even if you’re nat a part of a program like this, you can find a group to run with (again, asking about group runs at your local running store might be a good place to start).

I honestly believe that if you put all three of these together, you’re new years resolution (for this year, and for years to come) will come well within your reach!

Happy New Year

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