By: Amber Tebeau, NASM CPT, Manager CoachMeFit West Bloomfield
Goals help us to define what we want to do, why we want to do it, and how we are going to accomplish it. I find that I always work harder when I have a clear goal in mind. Currently I am training for a 10k race at the end of August. When I decided to run this race I decided that I needed to set a goal time. Though I do not consider myself to be a very good runner, I decided that I wanted to push myself and set a goal of running 8 minute splits for my race. This is a very high, but attainable goal for me. In order to achieve this goal I decided that I needed to enact a plan. Though I have run in races in the past, I have never followed a strict running plan; I just ran whenever I wanted for as long as I felt was needed. Recently, I did some research on the internet and found a plan that I liked. I modified it slightly to fit my schedule and created a calendar of the 10 weeks that I would be training. Everyday when it is time for my workout, I look at my calendar to see how I need to train that day. It takes the guess work out of my workouts because I know exactly what I am supposed to do. It also pushes me to complete my scheduled workout even when I do not feel like pushing myself. Similar to most people, I have days when I do not want to run or work out. However, by having a high goal that I want to attain along with a set running schedule I am motivated to stay the course and work towards my goal.
CoachMeFit uses the goal setting formula of SMART-R. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Reasonable, Timed and Reasons why. Let’s look at all of these elements closely and how they shaped my race goal.
S -Specific – Goals should be detailed and clearly defined. I set a specific goal of running a 10k race in 8 minutes miles.
M-Measurable – Goals should be measurable in order to measure progress and to ensure there is a defined ending to the goal. I have a training plan that lays out specific workouts to help me to reach my 8 mile split goal. I will be able to measure my success on race day when I see my final time.
A – Action Oriented – Goals can only be attained if action is taken. The training plan that I follow gives me daily actions to complete in order to reach my goal.
R – Reasonable – Goals must be reasonable in order to be obtained. I ran a 5k in 2009 with less than 8 minute splits; this leads me to believe that if my body is capable of running 8 minute splits for 3.1 miles, then with proper training, my body will also be able to run the same pace for 6.2 miles.
T-Timed – Goals must have a deadline, because deadlines move us to action. The race is August 21, 2010, which is ten weeks from when I started my training.
R – Reasons Why – This is probably the most important step in the goal setting process. Your “reason why” is your motivation for achieving the goal. The reason why I am running this race is to push myself to be a better runner and to run a race that I never thought I could run. In the past I would tell myself that I was a poor runner and that I could not run a 10k or run it well. I would like to prove myself wrong and accomplish my goal of running a 10k and running it well.
Take a moment to think of something you would like to accomplish in the next couple months. Once you have a goal that you would like to accomplish, walk through the steps of SMART-R to come up with a well defined plan of how you will accomplish this goal. With a little hard work and a specific plan your goals will soon become a reality.