Friday, December 18, 2009

Speed Bumps

Last week at this time, I could barely coax myself out the door for a run.  Yes, I have an upcoming half-marathon and yes, I've been perfectly healthy, but it was freezing outside!  Literally!  Since winters in the Pacific Northwest are usually quite mild, it was a shock to be dealing with temperatures in the teens and 20's for over a week.  I was cold indoors, so convincing myself to go outside and run was virtually impossible.  As a result, I had a week of fewer runs and much lower mileage.  Did I give up on my goal of a half-marathon because my training plan was off?  No way!  Life has a way of throwing the unexpected at you and you can't quit everytime that happens or you will never achieve any goal. 

How do you deal with the unexpected?  First of all, don't think of those off-times as failures.  They are merely speed bumps on the road towards your goal.  Speed bumps don't cause you to turn your car around, do they?  No!  They slow you down, but you're still headed towards your destination.  Keep moving forward!

Second, when you are setting your goal, be prepared for the unexpected.  Give yourself a little "wiggle room."  If you think you can achieve a goal in 6 weeks - great!  But, perhaps you should allow yourself 8 - just in case. 

My running plan includes several weeks of lower mileage for recovery.  That was my "wiggle room."  My easy week was supposed to be this week, but I decided to swap out my weeks.  I got my rest week early and didn't lose any progress in the process.  No need to feel like I've failed.  I'm still moving ahead and I'll be ready for that half right on time!   

Third, plan ahead for what you'll do if something throws off your progress.  What will you do if you get sick, make poor food choices, or just aren't motivated for some reason?  Will you quit, or will you pick up where you left off and keep moving forward?  If you have an emergency plan in place, you are less likely to give up on your goal.

There will always be speed bumps along the route.  Keep them in perspective.  They aren't insurmountable.  Decide now that you will continue to move ahead, no matter what life throws at you.  Dealing with those speed bumps will make you even stronger in the end.  You CAN achieve that goal!   

Friday, November 13, 2009

Share, Share, Share!

I'll be honest.  Yesterday I did not want to do my training run.  It was cold, wet, and windy.  I really wanted to stay inside where it was warm and dry.  But, the thought of everyone I had told about my goal was enough to get me out the door.

Telling others about your goal is a HUGE factor with successful goal-achievers.  Knowing that someone may ask about your progress can be that push you need on those days you just don't feel like working towards that goal. 

Another thought that helped me get out the door yesterday was those of you who are also currently training for a race at Cascade Half.  I was sure you were getting your runs in, so there really was no excuse for me! 

Besides telling someone about your goal, enlisting others to reach the same or a similar goal can also be a great motivator.  Even if you aren't working towards it together, checking in with each other can be mutually beneficial in your progress.

When I stepped out the door for my run, I'll admit, I still wasn't terribly excited to face the elements.  However, the rain tapered off just minutes into my run and I warmed up in a hurry.  And, you know what?  It was a great run!  So, thanks to all of you who unknowingly motivated me yesterday. 

Not motivated?  Share your goal with someone and ask for their support or share your goal here.  I'd be happy to help.  If you're reading this - you've already helped me! Start moving towards that goal - today!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ready, Set, Goal!

I've been blogging about setting goals and sharing them for accountability and support.  So now it's time to "practice what I preach" and share my current goal with you.  Sure, it's scary to put something out there for everyone to see.  There's always a chance I could fail.  But, I know that if I share that goal, I'm more likely to succeed because I've made myself accountable to all of you. 

Goal:  Cascade Half-Marathon, Turner, OR  January 17, 2010

Training time: 10 weeks (starting Monday, Nov. 9)

Training committment: Run at least 3x/week with one long run per week (Training plan is printed out and on my desk. I used Runner's World Smart Coach*) 

Not only am I sharing this goal with you, I am also inviting you to set a goal for this race as well.  Besides the half-marathon (13.1 miles), there is a 10K (6.2 miles), and a 2 mile fun run at this event.  Pick the distance that you'd like to work towards and let's get The Fitness Studio running! 

Remember to be SMART about your goal setting.  Once you have a plan, share it!  Use The Fitness Studio community to support you as you work towards your goal.  *If you're new to running or have specific goals or limitations, I can set up an individual plan designed just for you - instead of the "cookie-cutter" option you will get online.

I'll keep you posted on my progress and I'll expect you to do the same. 

So, how about it?  Who's in?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Locked Out!

I locked my studio door on the way to lunch yesterday and immediately knew I had locked my keys inside.  There was nothing I could do at that moment, so I stressed about it all the way home.  Why hadn't I made copies of my keys yet?  I had been thinking about getting my keys copied, knowing there was a chance I could lock them inside, but I had continued to put it off.

We all put things off - even when we know there's a good chance we could regret it later.  We put off taking care of our health because we're doing OK right now or we just don't have time.  But, how long will it be before you find out you have high blood pressure, Type II Diabetes, stress-related illness, or even move into the category of obesity?  As you know, these things don't happen overnight, but the longer we wait to take care of ourselves, the closer we move to being required to care for ourselves in a more drastic way. 

You take good care of your children each day, because you love them.  You take care of your clients or co-workers daily.  You may even care for your parents on a regular basis.  But, while taking care of others, many people forget to care for themselves, feeling guilty if they take time for their own health.  It's time to realize that caring for your own health is just as important.  You want to be there for your family and friends.  Don't jeopardize that by putting off taking care of you. 

Make that doctor's appointment, sign up for those training sessions, find a workout partner, GET MOVING NOW - before it's too late!  Don't lock yourself out of your own life! 

This morning (after getting back in to my studio) my first priority was to make copies of all my keys.  It became important when locking myself out became a reality.  Don't wait on your health until reality hits.  Start your health improvement today!  

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rewarding Yourself for Goals Achieved

Do your goals seem out of reach sometimes?  Do you get frustrated during the process when things don't move as quickly as you'd like?  You are not alone!  We have become a society of instant gratification.  Unfortunately, that can work against you when you are trying to work towards a goal.  Change takes time.  This is why the last post was about breaking your goal into smaller short-term goals.  Achieving each small goal is another step towards the big goal.  But, sometimes we forget to look at the "little" achievements and then we get frustrated because we haven't yet achieved the BIG goal. 

How can we help ourselves with this barrier?  Reward yourself for the baby steps.  When you set your weekly goals, establish some rewards for achieving them.  But, be smart about your rewards.  If you are trying to lose weight, don't reward yourself with food!  Obviously, that can be counterproductive!  If your goals are fitness/health related, reward yourself accordingly.  Download some new workout music, buy some new workout clothes, or work towards that massage you've been wanting.  Your rewards should support what you're working towards and they should make sense for what you've achieved. 

Here's an example of how to reward yourself for your achievements.

Overall Goal - Lose 15 pounds
Reward for achieving this goal - Massage

Weekly goal (Week 1) - Lift weights 2x this week, Run/Walk 3-4x this week
Reward - Download 3 new workout songs

Weekly goal (Week 2) - Continue with Week 1 goal + Eat 3-4 servings of vegetables daily
Reward - New weight gloves

You get the idea.  Set the big goal with a big reward.  Set smaller goals with smaller rewards. Do you have to reward yourself for every step?  That depends on you.  Some people need regular reminders to keep going, others are satisfied with just working towards one bigger reward, and still others don't really need rewards.  If you struggle with achieving your goals and you haven't tried rewarding yourself - try it!  That extra motivation may be just what you need!  

Remember to share your goals with someone this week! 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Goal-setting - What Now?

So, you've got a great goal in mind.  Perfect!   Now write it down, tell someone, enlist some support.  Working towards a goal is not always easy - don't try to do it alone. It's too easy to bail on your goal if no one else knows about it.  Take the next step and share it!

Next break that goal down into realistic smaller steps.  Start with this week.  What are you going to do differently this week to start working towards your goal?  Don't try to make a whole bunch of changes all at once.  This is the time you are going to achieve that goal - one step at a time.  Remember to make REALISTIC changes.  For example: If you currently drink 3 sodas a day, don't try to quit completely in week one.  That's a huge change that could lead to failure.  What about cutting down to 2 a day this week and then 1 the next, etc.  Gradual change will make a difference. 

What now?  Get out a pen and paper; open up your blog, Facebook, Twitter, email - whatever; call a friend; grab a co-worker.  Make a plan for this week and SHARE IT!  Ask for help in achieving your goal.  Or enlist a friend that wants to work towards that goal with you.  Get the word out and get crackin' on week one of your new goal. 

Good luck!  And remember, "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got."  Time to make a change!  I can't wait to hear about your goals.

Next time - rewarding yourself

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What is your goal?

Welcome to The Fitness Studio blog.  This will be a forum for tips on exercise, eating, and better health and fitness.  Submit your questions, comments, and even ideas for future posts. 

We're all in the quest for better health and fitness together.  Having a community that supports your effort is vital to your success.  Join this online community and surround yourself with friends and family members at home who support your efforts, as well.  Let's do this together! 

Step one:  Set a goal for yourself
Your goal should be SMART! 
Specific - What do you want to achieve?
Measurable - How many pounds to lose?  What event to complete? What score/time for your event?
Attainable - Is your goal realistic, healthy, and something you will work towards?
Relevant - Is this a goal YOU want to achieve?
Time-bound - Set specific deadlines.

It's easier to achieve a goal if you share it with others and become accountable for reaching your goal. What SMART goal have you set for yourself? 

Next time - You've set your goal - Now what?