by Robin Legat
As summer winds down and we head into fall, time to do a quick check-in: how’s your motivation?
Have you been kicking butt and taking names with your training? Or are you having a hard time gathering the energy to workout or run each day?
If you’re feeling seen by the second question, there’s a solid reason for that.
We are now two-thirds into a year that’s been mostly devoid of races and competitive events. We are now two-thirds into a year where the goals that drove our fitness previously...simply don’t exist.
As an OCR athlete, I always had a race around the corner that kept me fired up to stay on top of my training. As of March, those future races went *poof* and were gone. So I’m right there with you!
Here’s the thing: having something exciting yet tangible and attainable to work toward is a powerful motivator. Races and events serve that purpose for many of us. When those are removed from the equation, it’s not surprising to feel your motivation and drive to stay on top of your training wane or disappear outright.
Instead of wishing things could be different, it’s time to take a new approach to goal setting that works WITH the circumstances we’re in today.
Following these three simple steps can help you get excited about training and back on track.
This is where you get to dream big and forget that we’re living the pandemic life. In a perfect world, what is a big goal you want to achieve? Think BIG here. This is the type of goal that would take at least a year or even years for you to be ready to achieve.
For the purpose of this exercise, let’s say your big, lofty goal is to run your first Ultra. Write it down.
It’s important to always think in a way that’s exciting and expansive about what you can achieve someday. The act of thinking about it and writing it down helps make it become something that feels possible to accomplish.
Once you finish this step, move on to…
This is where we take that big, lofty goal on your wish list and turn it into something you can achieve not just this year, but in the coming months.
Let’s go back to the example in the AIM HIGH step. If your lofty goal is to run your first Ultra, now you will determine what smaller goal you can focus on that will take you toward being ready for the big goal.
This will depend on your current fitness level, of course. If your AIM HIGH goal is to run your first Ultra, your BREAK OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE goal could be to run a 5K, 10K or half marathon.
You want your BREAK OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE to be the kind of goal that you can’t accomplish right now, but with training and focus, you could achieve it in approximately 90 days or so.
It should be the type of goal that excites you, but is still something that is tangible and attainable in the coming months.
Based on your AIM HIGH goal, what is your BREAK OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE goal?
Write it down and make it real.
Then move on to the final step…
This is where we finally acknowledge the limitations presented by 2020 and adjust accordingly.
Let’s look at your BREAK OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE goal. Is it something that you can realistically do at this moment in time?
For example, if your BREAK OUT OF YOUR COMFORT zone is to run a specific race, first thing is to check to see if it’s actually happening.
Some races, such as trail events like the Moab Marathon/Half Marathon, are still on the calendar.
Many others, such as most OCR races, have been canceled for the year.
Anything that is on the calendar could be canceled with little to no notice.
So you must be prepared to take that BREAK OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE goal and adapt it to make it work in our topsy-turvy world.
Say you want to run a trail half marathon. If you are able to find a race that is still planning on taking place and you are able to do it, sign up! But also be prepared for possible cancellation and plan accordingly. Is there a virtual version that you can run in case this race doesn’t take place? Keep it in your back pocket.
But say you want to run a trail half marathon and there aren’t any in-person races you can do in the coming months. That’s when you take the virtual race option out of your back pocket and put it in your front pocket. Find one that appeals to you, sign up and train for it as if it’s an in-person race. Treat it like any other race on your calendar.
There are other ways you can CHANGE TO ADAPT. You can set a time/pace goal to complete a half marathon on your neighborhood streets. You can pick a local trail and build your miles there every week until you are able to complete a half marathon.
In short, you create your own race. You set a date, write it in your calendar, and train for it just like any other race.
By following the A-B-C’s of Goal Setting, 2020 does not have to feel like a lost year when it comes to your racing and training. AIM HIGH, BREAK OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE and CHANGE TO ADAPT for your own life, fitness level and goals, and you’ll find your motivation, drive and fire to train and compete rushing back in no time!
Robin Legat is an Athletic Aging Coach who specializes in helping women over 40 explore their athletic potential so they can gain confidence, overcome life’s obstacles and look, feel and live AGELESS. Robin herself is a later-in-life athlete who spent eleven years as a roller derby skater before becoming an obstacle racer in her forties. In the last five years, Robin has completed over 60 Spartan Races and has stood on multiple age group podiums. As host of the Seasoned Athlete Podcast, Robin shares stories, advice, inspiration and motivation from athletes over 40, furthering her mission to help people pursue bold athletic and fitness goals at any age.
You can see her adventures on Instagram.