So my lack of focus and utter laziness over the past couple of weeks has resulted in a moment of clarity….I think. I’d like to share with you a few recommendations that may help you stay focused as you work toward your first….second…..twenty-second…..one hundred and second running goal. Quite frankly, I’m hoping that these work because I’m planning to actually heed my own advice!
1. Run With Friends – This is my best advice. It’s advice I’ve heard a hundred times. And….it works! When you run with friends, a group, or a team, you are motivated to keep going just when you begin to get tired. You are motivated to get out of bed, get dressed, and get your butt to the meeting spot for a run. Running with the team or a group also helps with structuring your running plan – usually, the group will have goals in mind that each of you will help one another achieve. As you can tell….there are HUGE benefits when you run as part of a group.
2. Keep a Log – It doesn’t need to be fancy. Just get into a habit of planning out your week of running by writing down your goals and plans for specific workouts on specific days. Write down your goals: mileage, pace, etc. Committing things to paper infers commitment to what’s documented. Share your plan with a friend – preferably one that knows that you are taking this training seriously, and if you slack off….he/she isn’t afraid to call you to the carpet on it! Lastly, make sure you read your log quickly right before you go to bed. If you read what your goal is the next morning right before you hit the sack, you’ll wake up more prepared to attack that goal.
3. Lay Out Your Running Clothes The Night Before – The act of laying out running clothes the night before a run helps as a reminder when you wake up. Put your stuff on a chair – someplace where you cannot miss it. Then, if you wake up not exactly fired up to run in the morning, and if reading your log the night before didn’t help you visualize your morning goal, and if you were planning to run solo (well there goes recommendations 1 and 2, right down the ol’ gabinetto), you’ll have to walk right by your running stuff. Ah, the power of guilt….Your Reeboks will sit there, looking at you with those sad-sack laces, as if to say “Aren’t you going to slip me on and take me out on the pavement?” Your technical t-shirt will be lounging back on the chair, saying “I was planning to get sweaty today. Don’t just let me sit here all day smelling like Lemon Fresh Tide! I was made to get sweaty! (the technical t-shirts are particularly emotional in the mornings…trust me) Your running shorts will….well…you get the idea (yeah Joe – they get the idea: your clothes have a way of taking you a guilt trip….they have personalities….and you…are…nuts).
4. Reward Yourself – Promise yourself something nice at the end of a full week of training where you stuck to your goals. Maybe it’s a fantastic dinner. Maybe it’s a movie. Maybe it’s just some quiet time. Whatever makes you happy – use it as a carrot, and go chase it all week long.
Well, there you go! Those are some quick ideas for how to stay focused while training over time to achieve a goal. Please feel free to offer up any additional helpful concepts that you may have!