As a teacher I talk to my middle school students often about the importance of setting goals, planning how to reach goals, putting in the work necessary to reach goals, and celebrating success once a goal is accomplished. As a teacher I am also expected to set quarterly S.M.A.R.T. goals. This stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Every marking period I sit down and look at student data and set challenging goals. I then plan what I need to do to make sure my struggling readers achieve these goals, and everyday I do whatever I can to help my students bridge the gap from where they are to where I want them to be. Of course, celebrating their success is the easy part (they love my candy)!
When talking to friends I often have said things like, I want to run faster, I want to run a marathon, I want to complete an Ironman, I want to be a better biker, etc. However, I never used the same strategy I preach daily. One of my favorite teachers used to say the difference between a wish and a goal is a plan and a deadline. All of these things were wishes because I never had a specific plan to help me achieve these goals. I ran, biked, and swam a lot and sometimes even loosely followed a plan I printed offline. However, I never picked one specific goal and sat down and figured out what I was going to do to achieve that goal. An example of this is, like many runners, I have always had the lofty goal of running a marathon. This summer I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon while in the middle of training for my first Olympic distance triathlon. I found a training plan online, printed it out, and taped it to my mirror. It was probably a good plan, and if I followed it as written I might have successfully completed my first marathon. However, I couldn't fit in all the running the plan required while also training for the Olympic distance triathlon. So, I decided that I would just make sure every Sunday I completed the long run that progressively built each week (after completing a tough brick workout on Saturday). You probably can guess where this left me- miserable on the couch the entire month of November. Not only could I not complete the marathon, I was struggling to just walk around my house. I went to the doctor who said I had plantar fascists. He gave me painful cortisone shots and made me expensive orthotics. (Looking back I would have rethought both of these decisions) I was eager to get a quick fix and start running again. I started researching early spring marathons.
December 1st hit and I started running again. I was a little smarter this time and made sure to follow the 10-Percent Rule. However, I was still frustrated because I was experiencing a lot of pain. By the end of January I knew a marathon was out of the question. My doctor encouraged me to continue exercising, but I knew I needed to scale back on the running miles. I treated myself to a bike trainer and a new bathing suit because I figured my winter would be filled with biking and running. I am an outdoors person, so I quickly grew bored of the laps in the pool and hours on the bike trainer. Instead of looking forward to working out, I was dreading it. About the same time the MHWTC offered a free trial class at our local CrossFit gym, I signed up. I had heard about it a lot before, but was never was interested in weight lifting (which I thought was the only focus). How could weight lifting possibly make you faster, I thought. Well it did.....and I was hooked.
This post is about goal setting, so I will stick to that and save my newly found love for CrossFit for another post. The high intensity workouts I was completing, and a focus in CrossFit of setting individual goals made me finally sit down and do what I encourage my students to do everyday....
Set a goal: Set a new PR (personal record) of 23 minutes flat in a 5K
Plan how you will meet the goal: CrossFit classes, one day of speed work, and one 3.5 mile run per week
Work hard: Every day but rest days
Celebrate Success: New Sneakers, of course!
This post is getting long, so I will skip to the chase. I achieved my goal at the MikesMiles for JDRF run. I crossed the finish line at 22.51. I celebrated with a glass of wine since we were at the beautiful Cedarville Winery. Being that the run was a good portion sand and trail, I also set my new goal of 22 minutes flat! The new sneakers are coming soon!
All award winners who received a gift certificate to our local running store!
22 minutes flat!
I see this every morning. Balance is a goal that I am constantly struggling to attain, and don't we all have the goal of feeling great in our bathing suit this summer!