Quick recap: I have a plan to raise $10,000 for some awesome organizations by Sept. 22, 2013. Tally so far: $925. I’ll be doing a bunch of races along the way, capped off with Ironman Lake Tahoe.
Ragnar Northwest Passage registration is open. Four commitments are in, 8 more to go…
This last Saturday the Ironman World Championships were held in Kona. Inspired by the dedication of the age group participants who gave themselves the ultimate challenge, and succeeded, I’ve been sharing some of the mechanisms I use when taking on a new challenge.
Tuesday: setting a TARGET. Some key points included…
- I set my target high. Make it scare me a little bit. Or a lot.
- Go ahead and set a ridiculously lofty target… but build up to it.
Yesterday: establishing FOCUS. Some key points included…
- Make a structured plan focused on reaching your target.
- Your plan should be challenging, but not overwhelming.
- Write the plan down. Write the plan down. Write the plan down. You got that? WRITE IT DOWN. Don’t just print out a plan you found online, use that plan but: WRITE. IT. DOWN.
With a solid plan that is challenging but not borderline impossible, that you’ve absorbed and bought into (why you must, yes, WRITE IT DOWN)… voilà! You’ve got FOCUS.
So, now that you have a TARGET and FOCUS, what is next?
This third step is simple, straightforward, and honest. ATTACK!
You’ve set the challenging target. You have a realistic but challenging plan in place that you’ve bought into (because you wrote it down, right?). To quote a wise blue collared sage, now is the time to “git ‘er done!”
I can’t believe I just wrote that… onward!
Here are some things that I keep in mind as I implement my plan with enthusiasm and vigor:
1) Stick to the plan!
You did the research and have bought into a difficult, aggressive plan. Now stick to it. As Lauren and I say to each other, as motivation and because it makes us chuckle: “Don’t be a baby!” There will be good days and bad days. Push through the pain. Attack, attack, attack!
This next part may surprise you a bit, though. Don’t overdo it. If your plan calls for a 5 mile easy run, but you feel like you could knock out a 10 miler at race pace, stick to the 5 mile easy run. If your plan was put together by someone with experience it is carefully planned to give you built-in rest, gradually build up to your goal, provide ramp-up (and ramp-down) cycles – all of this helps prevent fatigue, burnout, overuse injuries… this is VERY important.
2) Stick to the plan… unless your body or circumstances tell you otherwise.
So, now that I’ve told you to stick to the plan, you must also know when to temporarily throw in the towel. If you are really wiped out – physically or mentally – it is OK to take an unplanned rest day. If your spouse/significant other/friends/kids/pets need a little extra attention – cut back or take a day off and make sure they get it. If work duties or household responsibilities cut into your available time – it is OK to miss or cut back on the plan for the day.
And this next point gets its own paragraph to emphasize its importance: Listen to your body. If you are dealing with injury DO NOT just push through it. Take care of the injury. There is a fantastic article on Runner’s World online that I use as my first reference when the little aches and pains surface. Bookmark it in your browser. Ultimately, if it just doesn’t feel right, do not be your own doctor. Get advice from a professional.
Traditionally your plan will include one or two key days each week. If your unplanned day falls on one of these key days make sure to swap it in for one of the less important days in your plan. In the long run, this attention to balance will keep you grounded; it will help keep you mentally and physically fresh. And this attention to balance will let you get back into the groove so you can ATTACK once again.
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