you haven't picked a few athletic goals for next
year, the holiday season is a good time to do so.
You've probably fallen off the wagon with your
regular routine and are eating lots of yummy
treats - which combine to lead to loss of fitness
and a bit of weight gain. It's not the end of the
world, but don't dilly dally your return to
routine in the new year.
should always pick a goal that is meaningful to
you, is reasonable to achieve within a set time
frame, and with some upper and lower limits on
success. Written differently, it means pick
something within a year or so that you can target.
Pick something that is challenging but not
impossible. Allow yourself some wiggle room on
what will constitute success - if all goes well
you can hit that super great result, but if life
gets in the way you can be satisfied with a result
that will still make you smile.
are a few key attributes that will help you meet
it a concrete goal.
of an open-ended goal like "I want to run faster,"
make it "I want to run a sub-20 minute 5k in
2013." Set a time limit deadline and a time or
milestones along the way.
at May 5k
at July 5k (could be slower due to summer heat -
just an example)
or under at September - October 5k
a specific training approach.
are many ways to achieve athletic goals. If you
mix and match conflicting approaches throughout
your season, it decreases your chances for
success. Pick a specific approach that suits your
style and temperament, and stick with that. An
approach that works for your best friend will not
necessarily work for you. This is where
professional coaching can come in handy.
quickest way to derail your training and lose your
progress is by being inconsistent at any point.
Miss a few days here, another few sessions here,
and you're off track before you know it. Remember,
some training time is always better than no
training time, with rest periods / injury recovery
being the exception. In other words, if you're
really busy and won't make your one hour run with
intervals, a 20-30 minute easy jog is still much
better than skipping the session entirely.
every session will be great and not every week
will go perfectly. The trend of your training is
what's important. Find something positive in every
session or event, even if it's just "hey, I made
will get in the way. You'll get a promotion or
have a baby. You'll have to take an extended
family trip. The car will have a breakdown. The
bike will break down. You'll buy a new house.
Life, family, and work related events take a toll
on your total stress levels, and you'll need to
adjust your short term and/or long term goals to
meet the new situation. If you stick with
realistic but challenging goals within your new
framework, it will help you achieve fitness, a
healthy lifestyle, and personal satisfaction.
Ultimately, that is what athletic training is
really all about.
Gaal, CSCS, owns One Step Beyond with his wife Bri
Gaal. He has been coaching adult triathletes,
swimmers, and runners since 2002.