Ode to My Chariot + Writing Running Goals
Last week, I popped a tube pumping up the back left tire of my double Chariot for the 300th time. Although I hadn’t really looked at them very closely like, ever, I could now see that all three tires were splitting in places and badly needed to be replaced.
Having to take the Chariot to Cyclelogical to get it repaired (thank you, Derek!!) got me thinking about all the miles that had worn it down… And that just made it happy.
Over the past 4 years, my Chariot has literally been my lifeline. If I were to go back and do it all again, there would not be an item I would put on my baby registry faster.
Without a doubt, the Chariot has been responsible for maintaining my (questionable) sanity more than just a few times.
It has also allowed me and my children to partake in multitudes of adventures and events we otherwise would not have been able to, and traverse thousands of miles. In short, my Chariot rocks.
This stroller has also been instrumental in allowing me to set and achieve running goals as a mom of 3.
Before I started setting monthly running goals, I was happy with where I was fitnesswise. I ran, swam, and worked out for fun and for stress relief, but I never kept any data, never challenged myself, and I missed out on the opportunity to feel strong and proud of myself athletically.
Goals are great because they are motivating. They require us to reach and to grow in ways we may have never thought possible. In order to reach our goals, we must become better.
In the classroom, we set SMART goals. If you are looking to write yourself a running goal (or any type of fitness or life goal, really), this nerdy but practical acronym can help.
First, decide which type of running goal you want to set. It should be specific. You might want to set a goal for a certain number of miles for the month (I will run 30 miles this month). Or devote a certain amount of time to running (I will run 15 hours this month). Or you might set a race goal (I will to be able to run a 5K by Shorebird Weekend; I will run a 55 minute 10K at Spit Run; I will run a marathon on Summer Solstice).
Specific, Measurable, and Attainable
In my opinion, the simplest types of running goals to set are mileage goals. First, select a specific number of miles you want to run. Make sure that this number challenges you, but is still attainable.
If you don’t already have one, make sure to download an app to help you measure and record your daily and monthly statistics (Runkeeper, Endomondo, Zombies, Run!, Map My Run, Runtastic, Couch to 5K, Nike+, etc.).
If you are just starting out and would like to walk/run, let’s say, 1 mile per day for a month, you might want to set your goal for 20-25 miles the first month. This allows for rest days, and also doesn’t set you up for failure if you miss a day. If you have been running for awhile, you can look back at your monthly averages (or ballpark them if you don’t have a record), and then bump that number up an achievable amount, but not so high that you risk injury.
If you have been running for awhile, you might prefer to focus instead on your race times. You could set a goal for your next race: “I want to run a 5K 30 seconds faster than my PR by the Shorebird Festival.” Make sure to add interval training sessions into your weekly workout plan to help you achieve this goal (intervals are super kid-friendly, too!).
I kind of think the R should come first, but RSMAT is not a word, so we’ll leave it where it is. Relevance is crucial. Your goal must have personal meaning, otherwise there’s no motivation to chase it, no reason to go the extra mile, no desire to push yourself through the pain. When you set a goal that is personally significant, you will find a way to persevere, even when the going gets tough – and that’s how you achieve your hopes and dreams.
All these example goals have time frames... Deadlines help you plan how to reach your goal, and convey urgency. They’re motivating – that’s the bottom line. To work towards a goal, set short-term “check point” goals to help yourself evaluate your progress. Decide where you should be at the end of each week or month, and at the end of these time frames, evaluate your progress.
Find a Training Buddy
Seriously. You need one. Everything is more fun with friends, especially fitness. It’s nice to find a local buddy if possible so you can meet up for workouts and runs at times, but having a social media group or long-distance buddy you can text or email daily to recap your progress can also be very powerful. Having someone to be accountable to, and who is working towards similar goals, is crucial when the going inevitably gets tough. Now let's get running!