Running Goals: Rockin’ and Rollin’ into 2014

I guess it’s time I put it down on paper. My BHAG, my big hairy audacious goal for 2014. I hinted at it spilled it in my post the other day (not sure what got into me!), but I still wasn’t sure if I was really going to do it.

2014 Goals

Backing up a little. As I wrote in my review of my 2013 fitness and running goals, I was pretty pleased with my accomplishments. I really wanted to get back into more serious training, and I did so. I brought my half marathon time down to 2:00, a post-50-year-old PR. I also took a couple minutes off my recent 5k times, just by virtue of my half marathon training.

So, in keeping with all that, I present my…

2014 Running Goals

  1. I plan to continue training to get faster. I called it getting back into fighting shape in my 2013 post, so I’d say I would like to fine-tune my fighting shape. I will do this by…
  2. Racing more frequently. Last year I ran three half marathons and two 5ks. I want to race more this year. I plan to train for these races, so I will pick them carefully, especially the half marathons. Already on the agenda are the Palm Springs Half Marathon in February (though I’m already a little behind on the training) and the La Jolla Half Marathon in April. America’s Finest City Half Marathon, a race I love but haven’t done for years, may just be in the plan too. These will all fit in with…
  3. My BHAG. I’m going to run a marathon in 2014. Ahem, [clears throat]. I’m going to run a marathon in 2014. There, I said it. I’m going to run a marathon in 2014. And in keeping with my tips for achieving goals, I already have the beginnings of a plan:
  1. The time of year is important when you live in the desert. While a fall marathon sounds great, it means lots of long runs in the heat of the summer here in the desert. Not good. I also don’t want to put it off until winter. Cross country season makes it difficult to plan my own running, and, frankly, I want to get started right away so I don’t chicken out. That leaves late spring or early summer.
  2. I live in Southern California, so I’d like to keep my goal race in the general area, within a two or three hour drive (sorry San Francisco, I would have loved you). So that leaves…
  3. Rock and Roll San Diego! It’s on June 1, so the timing is perfect. I actually ran the inaugural event back in 1998, and eventually finished it five more times. I also had to drop out two times, the only two times I have ever DNFed a marathon (due to asthma issues), so I’m a little nervous. I have a few weeks to make my decision, when the price goes up on January 31. It’s already $135, which, to this 90’s runner (who complained when the LA Marathon went up to $60) sounds like an arm and a leg. (I’m on the hunt for discounts if anyone knows anyone who knows anyone. Pavement Runner? I know you’ll be there!)
  4. For the next two months I will be building my base. It has been really difficult for me to get even 25 miles a week with my work schedule and other commitments (um, like blogging), so my challenge will be to find ways to get in more mileage. I usually run four days a week, with two of those runs coming before work on weekdays. Not only will I need to get out the door quicker for those weekday runs, I think I need to add one afternoon run a week.
  5. In March I will start training for the marathon. Though at this point, as much as I hate to say it, my goal is to finish, I will include speed work in my plan. Long intervals and tempo runs. I’m not even sure what time to aim for. In 1999 I ran my second fastest time ever at Rock and Roll SD (3:23, yes I can still brag about something that was almost 14 years ago), but I’ve also had really tough times there, when my asthma was so bad I had to stop at the first aid tent and eventually dropped out. So I’m thinking in the 4:15 range. Always an optimist.
  6. Finally, as exciting as all of this is, it got even better when I told Alan about it and he decided to join me! We trained together for years, then when his focus shifted more to triathlon, we didn’t get to run together as often. Now, as we build our mileage, start our official training, and return to speed work, we’ll be doing it as a team. Nothing better than having a partner on those 20 milers.

Rock & Roll

So there you have it. My running goals. My 36th marathon, coming soon.

And not just because I need to have something to fail at, I will strive to fit yoga back into my life. I know that I need yoga, both for strength and sanity. In fact, thanks to Christine’s post, I now know of 10 challenges I can join. Whatever works, right?

Okay, now I’m going to hit “Publish” and this will be real. What’s your BHAG for the year?

4 Tips for Creating and Achieving Your Goals in 2014

Whether you call them resolutions, goals, or plans, many people tend to start off the new year with the idea of creating some kind of change in their life. Losing weight, changing careers, running a marathon, or quitting smoking, are a few things that are frequently chosen as potentially life changing goals.

And just as frequently these goals are forgotten, put aside or given up on by February 1.

There is a lot of advice our there offering advice on how to be successful with your new year’s resolutions. Here are a few more tips that can help you both pick achievable goals, and then actually achieve them.

Don’t be afraid to pick a big goal.

While goals should be reachable, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). Want to run that marathon? Go for it! Need to lose 100 pounds? You can! In fact, having a big goal is motivating and exciting.

Break it down.

The key to success in achieving your BHAG is to start by creating a series of smaller goals that lead you to your final destination.

For example, if you plan to run your first marathon, sit down and create a plan to do so. Not a training plan, but the steps you need to take to get you to your destination.

To run a marathon, some lead up goals might be to build a mileage base, run a few shorter races, join a running club, actually choosing and signing up for a marathon. Write these down, create a timeline, then tick them off as you achieve them, knowing that each is leading you to your larger goal.

Losing weight is such a common resolution, yet it is so rarely achieved. If this is your ultimate goal, whether it is 10 pounds or 100, start by planning your smaller goals. Don’t just say just want to lose 10 pounds a month, say something like I will lose 10 pounds in the next six weeks. To do that I will eat smaller portions, take a daily walk, and choose healthier snacks. It can be broken down even further. This week I will skip fast food by bringing lunches to work. I will go to the gym three times and walk or run at least four times.

These are all small, achievable goals that will take you where you want to go. You must take the time to plan, think them out, and write them down before you start.

Hold yourself accountable

Believe me. You will not achieve lasting success with your goals if you do not find some way to hold yourself accountable. You need to own your resolutions, be proud of yourself for attempting to make these huge changes in your life.

Let me tell you a little story. I smoked cigarettes for almost 20 years. I made the usual attempts to quit. I even stopped altogether for a few years (while I had babies..stupid to smoke but not that stupid). I always started up again.

What was I doing wrong? I finally announced to everyone I knew that I was going to quit. I didn’t ask them to call me out, but simply the fact that they knew helped me to stick with it.

This was a long time ago. These days a great way to hold yourself publicly accountable is to start a blog dedicated to achieving your goal, where you can post your successes, vocalize your fears and get feedback from your readers.

If a public blog isn’t your cup of tea, a journal or log is still a great way to track your success and motivate yourself. If you know you have to write it down you’re much less likely to eat that second dessert, skip that workout, or strike that match, even if you are the only one reading.

Remember: S*%t Happens

There are obstacles in our path no matter what we are doing, so you can  expect that there will be challenges along the road to your goal. Realizing this before you start will help you overcome the obstacles. Injury, job changes, divorce, are all things that can throw a wrench in your plans, so prepare ahead of time so they won’t throw you off your stride.

Think about this, write it down so you’ll have it to refer to. How will you make your goal a priority on spite of the challenges?

And remember. If you do miss a workout, give in to the urge for a second dessert, smoke a cigarette, or generally lose track of your goal for a day or even a week, it is not over. Don’t give up. Get right back on it, forgive yourself, and move on, keeping both the small goals and your BHAG in mind.

What is your BHAG? The new year is upon us. What is your goal, resolution, or plan for 2014?

I’ll get us started by sharing mine. My first step to keep myself accountable. I want to run a marathon in 2014. It has been about seven years since my last one, and I haven’t really wanted to start the training again (ugh, 20 milers), but lately I’ve been feeling the bug. I haven’t picked one yet (suggestions?), but I’ll announce right here, right now, marathon #36, here I come!