A new year is all about new goals, right? Or maybe it’s just about the same goals but in a new year. Once you set those goals — how do you reach them? There’s lots of talk about SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound).
I think the secret to your goals is even easier: baby steps.
Take baby steps
You heard me: break your goal down into very small steps. Once you’ve done that, if you’re still having trouble working towards your goal, it just means your steps aren’t small enough. You need to break them down even more.
Let’s break down a race goal
Of course you’ll train differently for a 5k than you would for a marathon, but the basic steps to carry you to your goal are the same:
- Pick a race and register for it.
- If your race involves travel, book those plane tickets and make the hotel reservations. Early. Earlier than you think you need to do. I like to make sure my hotel has a refrigerator and microwave for those early race morning breakfasts (and leftovers!).
- Get fitted for the proper shoes.
- Either hire a coach or find a training plan (online, in a magazine, in a book, make your own).
- Figure out when you have to start training for the race. I like to add in a couple of extra weeks to my training plan — life happens.
- Put all the workouts on your calendar. This could be a digital calendar or a physical calendar — or both! Share with training buddies or significant others so they know when you will be available (or unavailable).
- Also put any big events you’re aware of during your training period on your calendar. Think about how that event will effect your training. Decide how you’ll juggle the event with your training.
- Make sure to book support appointments in advance: massages, chiropractic, fitness trainer.
- Will you need a fresh pair of running shoes before the race? When will you buy them? Don’t wait til the last minute only to find out they’re not available in your size!
- Test out your shoe, clothing, accessories like fuel belts or hydration vests, nutrition (if necessary), and hydration choices on your long (or longer, if the race is a shorter distance) runs.
- Test out your pre-and post run meals on your long runs. If you’re traveling, look to see if you’ll be able to get similar meals near where you’re staying. What will you do if there are no tried and true options for you at local restaurants? If you’re staying local and you want to eat at a particular restaurant, consider making a reservation for that pre-race meal.
- As the race nears, decide on your goals: finish with a smile on your face, run with a friend, crush a PR, enjoy the views? It’s your race, but knowing what you want out of it going into it can help you have a good time.
There are so many decisions that can go into a race, especially if you’re traveling for that race. There are so many steps to training. It can seem overwhelming in the beginning. Breaking down a large goal into easily doable steps will make it seem more doable, less frightening.
Breaking down a large goal into easily doable steps will take out so much of the pre-race anxiety and get you to the starting line feeling prepared. — Chocolaterunsjudy
Final thoughts: It works for all goals
Breaking a large goal into baby steps is the trick for reaching any goal: running, weight loss, career, getting stronger, getting more flexible. You name it and you can baby step your way to it.
Do you make goals and then never think about how to get to them? How does that make you feel?
What baby steps would you add to training for a race?
What are your goals — for 2020, for this month, this week? Please share!