To successfully achieve our goals, we need to become better at everything we do otherwise not much will change. As the saying goes, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. I’m no different and I know I have to change things if I’m going to achieve my goals. I’m going to take you through the steps I’ll be taking and maybe you can compare this with your goals and join me on this journey?
- Be clear on the goal – My goal is to run under 3hrs 15mins at the Loch Ness Marathon in September to get a Good For Age place in the 2018 London Marathon. I have done London 6 times before and I would love to earn my place to run it again. I have in recent years improved on my times over all distances except the marathon and so I would love to beat it 17 years on. Perhaps another motivation is defying the belief that you get slower as you get older? When setting your goal, it’s important to know exactly what you want and understand why it is important to you.
- Breaking the goal down into smaller chunks – there are going to be a few different things I’m going to need to do get the time I want including speedwork, paced sessions and a few target races in the build up so I will be focusing on performing well in these sessions as I go along, as much as the marathon itself. If your goal is to lose weight, try picking out some clothes that you want to be able to wear and work towards fitting into them again.
- Cover all areas – I know that to achieve my best performance, I need to make sure my diet is good, I’m getting good quality sleep, I’m cross-training well and that I recover well. My diet is generally pretty good but I have been known to have the odd cake or beer but my biggest challenge is to get the right balance of meal times, due to my working day so while I’m having my breakfast between 5.30 and 6.00am, lunch usually between 12 but dinner may not be until 8pm and so I need to make sure I have some good snacks late in the afternoon to fill in the gap. As well as training, I also need to make time to rest in the afternoons so that my body is recharged for working in the evenings. Without making improvements to my diet, rest, the improvements I make to my running are only going to be minimal. You need to take a holistic view at improving all areas of your life, exercise alone won’t make too much of a difference if the other aspects remain the same.
- Being consistent – I’ve been aiming for a sub 3:15 marathon for a few years now and know that my failures have been down to missing a few training runs and other things not working as well. This time, I have set aside 4 days a week for run training June and July then step it up in August and early September. I have planned the content of my sessions as well as the frequency and I know that in a few weeks, the training sessions will be part of who I am and adjusting them will be straightforward. With achieving your goals, being consistent with your meals, your training sessions and the time you go to/get up from bed is pretty crucial to your success. It’s the first thing I ask my clients to work on.
- Believe in yourself – this is pretty important! I already believe I can run sub 3:15, or actually get closer to 3hrs come September and all I’m doing is putting the pieces of the jigsaw together to get me there. If there’s the slightest doubt over your ability, that will affect your chances of success.If you’re not sure if you can achieve your goals, perhaps they’re not strong enough for you and so think about what needs to change in order to make the goals more meaningful and easier for you to focus on.
Let’s recap! In order for me to achieve my goal of under 3hrs 15sec at Loch Ness, I need to be clear on what I want to achieve and why I want to achieve it; break down my goal into smaller chunks so I can focus on hitting them on my way towards my big goal; tweak my diet, training, sleep patterns and recovery so I can get the best out of my training sessions; be consistent with my training and, ultimately, believe in my ability to achieve my goal.
When I crossed the finish line of my first marathon, I felt an enormous sense of achievement in what I had just done but also felt that if I could do it, anyone else could and I wanted to be able to inspire others to go after the things they dreamed of but perhaps felt impossible for them. In some ways, writing this has brought back some of those memories and that by doing this, I want to be able to inspire others to follow their dreams and that age doesn’t need to be a barrier to achieving the things that are important to you.
I want you to be part of my journey. After reading this, tell me about your goals. Have the steps above helped give you clarity? Have you thought of more steps? If so, what are they?
Please comment below and share your thoughts. Let’s do this together. If I can do it, you CAN do it too.