Running Marathons and Goal Setting


Exmoor Trail Marathon

Exmoor Trail Marathon

This picture is from April 2011, I was running in the Exmoor trail marathon (a CTS event run by EnduranceLife – excellent events, I can thoroughly recommend them) and I finished 1st in ‘Male Veterans’ and 9th overall, with a finish time of 4 hours 40 minutes and 59 seconds. The course was approximately 27.1 miles and included well over 5000 feet of ascent, including one very big, long, steep climb just 5 miles from the end, which is torture on tired legs.

This time of year, with New Year just around the corner, I always spend time thinking about goals and challenges. I ran a lot of marathons in 2011, that year my fitness was one of my big goals and I pushed it to an all-time high. As well as a ‘first-place-in-age-group’ marathon finish, I ran a sub 3:15 road marathon aged 40, I ran a 10k PB of exactly 42 mins, I completed the National 3 Peaks Challenge inside 24 hours, I completed 1014 good-form clean push-ups in 1 hour and I cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End in 9 days, a total of 963 miles. I certainly was ‘fit’ in the sense of cardio-vascular performance and the mental attitude for endurance sport.

As regular readers of this blog will know, the endurance sport I enjoyed in 2009-2011 came at a price, in the form of injuries, and as a result, in 2012 I have dropped out of endurance sport completely, and I have only just started back to running in recent weeks after a break of almost a full 12 months. But this post is not a discussion of running injuries, this is about goal setting.

As I head into 2013, my goals are far more concerned with good health than with macho displays of my fitness abilities. Long term, the injuries are not worth it, it is far more sensible to pace myself for the long haul and treat my body with more respect. When this one is worn out, I don’t get another. I plan to live for a long time, I have a lot I want to do and see, and I want this body in good working order for many decades still to come. So life, indeed, is a marathon, not a sprint.

What are your health goals for 2013? Have you thought about them? Have you taken time to consider what you would like to achieve in 2013? What place are you at with your health? Maybe you are a runner, and you have run some 5k’s, might you target a 10k in 2013? Maybe you have run some half-marathons, might you set your sights on completing your first marathon?

Maybe you are trying to lose weight, are you setting your target weight loss for 2013? Did you have a target for 2012, did you achieve it? If yes, well done you! If not, then don’t beat yourself up about it, learn from the experience, and use that learning to ensure you succeed next year.

I have managed 2012 without being ill since Jan 3rd. I started 2012 with a cough and cold, no big deal, and by this time next week, I will have managed 365 days without illness. I am targeting that same achievement for 2013, to not be ill for 1 single day. I also want to maintain my muscle mass, as I have worked hard lifting weights and I have gained about 10 or 11 pounds of muscle this last year, but I want to shed a few pounds of body fat. Simple enough goals, stay healthy, stay fit, keep my muscle, burn off a few pounds of fat, keep to my all-natural diet.

What about you, what are your goals?

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