If you read up on my post a few weeks ago, you know that I was training for, and recently completed, my first marathon! It was such an amazing experience and I must say I feel incredibly proud to have accomplished a physical challenge that many times during training I questionned was possible.
And this is exactly what I wanted to share with you today- not my turn-by-turn marathon experience, but rather about what it takes to go out and accomplish any fitness goal you may have. Running a marathon was mine, but for the great majority of people simply starting a consistent walking routine is a milestone to set their sights on.
Whatever your fitness goals are- big or small- I feel there are key elements that set you up for success.
- Pick a goal that is achievable for you– if you’ve never run more than 1 or 2 miles, then I’d recommend not making a full marathon your first running goal. Whether it’s running, biking, or swimming, aim for completing a shorter distance first. As with healthy eating, it is all too easy to “quit before you’re ahead” when you set an idealistic (read: unrealistic) fitness goal. Rather than going through 1 week of training, feeling completely overwhelmed and not to mention oh so sore, and quitting, stick to the motto of “low and slow” and cross the finish line of whatever distance you’re capable of with your chin held high.
- Get your gear– some things like a waterbottle and shoes are essential, but get motivated to workout with other fun gear- never underestimate the power of a flashy pair of leggings in helping you maintain your fitness routine! I firmly believe that when we feel our best being active, we are that much more likely to have fun with fitness. When I say feeling your best in flashy tights I mean TRULY feeling comfortable in those cute clothes, and not buying a smaller size because it’s what #fitspo is talking up on social media. Or if tight clothes just aren’t your thing, go with that favorite high school t-shirt and hit the pavement. No one will have time to judge how you look when you’re speeding past.
- Find a plan or make your own schedule– using a marathon training plan was one of the best things to keep me on track. Of course, there were times when I had to deviate due to work or travel, but having a smart, well-thought out mileage plan kept me on pace to train just the right amount- not over or under. Whether it’s running, weight training, or yoga, I guarantee you there are plenty of ideas for plans and routines on Pinterest- go find one that calls to you!
- Remind yourself of the “why”– I feel this is arguably the most important piece of any fitness goal or routine. If your reasons for working so hard become lost in the negative self-talk and you find excuses to never return to the gym, then your reasons probably weren’t the best ones to begin with. It is VERY difficult to only go workout if your “why” is weight loss. I’m not saying it’s wrong to have shedding a few pounds as a goal, but letting it be your sole reason for running all the miles will likely not be sustainable (p.s. I actually even gained weight leading up to the marathon because of all the “runger”). Yet if you find that those weekly yoga and HIIT classes have given you more energy, you’re sleeping better, and your lower back has stopped aching DESPITE losing weight, can’t you imagine you’d be more willing to keep going? For me, it was the thrill of completing a physical challenge, feeling stronger, and participating in an event that many friends and famly have always inspired me to do- THAT is why I got up for those long, morning runs.
When you’ve decided to jump into fitness with two feet I hope you find these tips help you cross that finish line feeling your vesy best!