5 ways to stick to your goals – and nail them
Running the Boston Marathon and finishing a marathon in under three
hours were big personal goals that I worked towards for three years. I
sometimes felt that I would never achieve either; I never in my wildest
dreams expected to get both at once!
My first attempt at going under three hours was on the Gold Coast
three years back. I was going so well and then my groin muscle gave out
after 25km and I limped home. Two years ago, I ran a marathon hoping to
qualify for the Boston Marathon and missed by only 61 seconds. Then,
last year in Canberra, I again had a shot at going under three hours and
missed the mark by a measly 37 seconds. In all these scenarios, there
were factors outside of my control – but there were also things that I
could have done better.
This experience has taught me so much. Here are five key lessons I’ve learnt that can be applied to any goal. Give them a try!
1. Be consistent and focus on small, incremental improvements over time.
I completed my first ever marathon in just under four hours. Six
years on, I have reduced this time by one hour through a consistent
effort. I was never going to knock a whole hour off my run in my second
marathon – I needed to improve gradually over time.
2. There will be setbacks and pain at times. Accept that fact and keep going.
Injuries, distractions, life changes – every barrier you can think of
will be thrown your way as you work towards your goal. Accepting that
reality is the quickest way to move forward.
3. You will doubt yourself. Acknowledge your thoughts and carry on.
At times I wondered if it was all worth it. Even on the finishing
straight in Boston, I thought I still might fail. It’s normal to feel
this way. Observe and acknowledge your thoughts, accept them for what
they are, then let them go.
4. The 80/20 rule rules.
The 80/20 rule comes up so often in all areas of life. In training,
typically 20 percent is an effort session designed to improve my
performance. The other 80 percent in training is general running and
building a base. Without the 80 percent base, the 20 percent of focus on
improvement will not have the same impact – don’t neglect the core
5. The simpler the plan, the more likely you are to succeed.
I had a simple plan in Boston: set my watch to tell me my 5km splits,
aim for 20-21 minutes for each, and take a gel every 10km. My mantra
was consistency, control and patience – and it worked.
Try applying these five tips to your own life/running training. Some challenges can seem insurmountable – there are mistakes and pain and doubt – but there is no
fad diet, magic pill or quick fix. The only way to reach a goal is through persistent and dedicated effort over time. You can do it!
Best of luck!
Written by Jason Croston, SRJ Walker Wayland