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Goal Setting: My Journey From Zero to Half Marathon

I’m not a runner.  Training and subsequently running a half marathon was one of the hardest things I’ve physically done.  I did not choose this race because I love to run.  It was actually the opposite, or almost the opposite.  I didn’t HATE running but I severely disliked it.  And it was really, really hard for me.  Especially in the beginning.  So why did I do it?  Because I knew it was time for me to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself,  because it had been on my bucket list for years and  I had been too afraid to commit, because I had to prove to myself that I could do hard things!

Throughout my training journey, I shared quite a bit on social media.  I had many epiphanies during my long runs.  Lots of motivational shit going through my head.  And I realized, this goal was just like any other really hard goal we set…physical or mental and decided to share what got me through it and how it applies to all things we set to do.

1. It’s ALWAYS hard at first.  If it was easy it wouldn’t help you grow.  My first month of running was torture.  I thought no way am I going to be able to run 13.1…I couldn’t even do 2!  But I learned to trust the process, that I had months of training ahead of me and not to think about the final steps.  Just to focus on the next step.  I tried not to look ahead or think about those looming 10 mile runs, but just to follow my training day by day, week by week. I just had to take the first step, and then the next step, and the next step, and so on.

2.  Realize that your first steps will be the hardest.  Even in my very last training run, the first mile or 2 was so incredibly hard.  It just took time for my body to loosen up and fall into a rhythm.  In the beginning I so badly wanted to quit, but kept going because of my partner and because of my stubbornness.  But over time, I realized, it will get better if I just ride out the first mile or 2 no matter how rough it seemed.  It always gets easier!

3. Find a running partner, either a person literally by your side, a virtual one from far away, or someone you can turn to for support and guidance.  Thank goodness for my hubby.  I needed to know he was with me so I could have the confidence to even start this process. In the end, he didn’t run many of the training runs with me and knowing that I was able to do it by myself was priceless.  But just knowing that he had my back made a huge difference.  And on race day, his pacing made all the difference.  So whatever you’re trying to attempt, make sure you have your person to help guide and support you…even though you’re doing it all yourself!

4. Break down your goals into attainable smaller goals.  When I had to run my long runs, I didn’t think about getting to the final distance.  I only thought about the halfway mark.  Because I knew once I was more than halfway, I couldn’t turn back.  The distance was the same both ways.  So with any goal, we need to figure out our half way points, the point of no return so that we keep going.

5. Set your goal to music.  I really resisted this in the beginning and told my hubby that I just wanted to listen to my thoughts.  He urged me, (begged and pleaded with me!) to get a good motivating play list.  He was right! (I don’t say those three words lightly)  Music made a huge difference in running but really it’s good to have a soundtrack or just a motivational song with any goal.  Something that will get you to do all the things you don’t want to do, but you know you have to!  Or just something fun to move and destress with when a deadline is looming!

6. Share your goals with EVERYONE! Once I decided to run, I started posting about it on social media.  I wanted to be accountable.  It’s a lot harder to back out of something if everyone knows you’re doing it.  Although, there is a caveat to this…if you have people in your life that are not supportive, maybe don’t share with them.   Only people below you can bring you down, anyone ahead of you will lend you a hand to try to lift you up! Once I was accountable, it was harder to back track! Sharing with my network of people also had another unexpected benefit, I had a huge support group. This was especially remarkable on race day and so appreciated!!! If your people don’t support and lift you, it’s time to find new people.

We all need to do hard things in our lives, and whether we succeed or fail is really not the point.  Because if you just do it, and do it again, and redo it…you will eventually succeed, and you will only fail when you stop trying.

 

A goal should scare you a little, and excite you A LOT –  Joe Vitale

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