Running and goals

IMG_0413-1Like many people, in January, I made resolutions for the new year. In my case, I decided to set quarterly goals in 3 spheres: career, relationships, self. My goal for Q1 in the self category was to be able to finish a treadmill workout I found in Oxygen magazine that required running 2 minutes at 9.0 mph after a progressive build-up from 6.0 mph. As this was a Q1 goal, I was supposed to hit it by March 31.

I will skip to the end of this story: March 31 has come and passed, and I never hit it. The 90 seconds I wrote about a few weeks ago was the peak. The honest truth is that after I wrote that post, I never got on the treadmill to try that speed workout again.

There are reasons. Mostly good ones, I think. The weather took a turn for the better and once I was back outdoors, I had no desire to revisit the mill. Instead of running fast, I have been running long. I have done a number of 5-7 mile runs during the week, in addition to the long runs on weekends. So it is not like I have stopped running, which I think would be a worse way to fail at this goal.

I also achieved the larger goal of getting faster. In the course of hurling myself against that 2-minute 9.0 mph barrier, I figured out that I could do short sprints at 10.0 mph. I tend to be more of a 10-minute miler, and in the course of doing speed work, I did my first 8-minute mile. I ran a half mile at 7:30 pace.

So my feelings about all this are mixed. I am writing a piece for Fast Company on how to tell if a goal is achievable and realistic. I think this one was in what Michael Hyatt (who I interviewed for the piece) told me is the “discomfort zone.” It is challenging enough to be compelling. Of course, the nature of such a goal is that you might not hit it. That is failure, on some level, but not reaching the goal reminds me that the process itself has upsides. I pushed myself harder than if I had not set the goal. So I believe the goal-setting is still worthwhile.

Do you have any goals in the discomfort zone that you are working toward?

Photo: Shot on a run that was not done on the treadmill.

8 thoughts on “Running and goals

  1. Congratulations on the faster paced! A Michael Hyatt piece on half marathons was my catalyst for thinking “maybe this *is* doable” … I finished my 6th half on Sunday.

    1. @Amy- congrats on finishing another half! It’s a great distance. Somewhat doable with a normal life (unlike a marathon, which seemed to be its own part-time job). Definitely doable!

  2. There is DEFINITELY no reason to want to get back on the treadmill once the weather is nice! Stationary exercise is fine in a pinch (winter is a long pinch), but you’d have to be crazy to choose that over outdoor exercise in lovely weather.

    1. @Kristen – yeah, spending the last few weeks of March running on the treadmill instead of outside was just not going to happen. If I set a winter speed goal next year maybe I’ll start in December and have the end date be March 1 or something.

      Winter is a long pinch! I hadn’t quite thought of it that way 🙂

  3. I agree, the treadmill is no place to be when the weather is nice!

    Would love an update on the rest of your goals for Q1 and also what you are setting for Q2.

    1. @Kate – probably worth another post! Short answer is the other Q1 goals went well so far. I turned in a book proposal and am waiting to hear back on that. I hosted the party I planned to host and it went well.

      On deck for Q2 – enjoying my 15th reunion (I’m signed up at least!), editing my NaNoWriMo novel (just opened it up — it kind of sucks so this may be a lot of heavy lifting), and running 10 10-minute miles. I have done 6 in a row, so we shall see!

  4. You’ve actually inspired me to try to become a faster runner. I’m a 10-minute-miler myself, and didn’t think i could get substantially faster but it seems to be working for you…

    1. @Ana- I don’t know if substantially is the right word…but I definitely can hit some faster speeds than I could a few months ago. We will see if it pays off at Broad Street or not.

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