The easiest part of setting goals for yourself is choosing what you want to do. Your imagination starts to run overtime and you dream up lofty ideas without hesitation. The hardest part of setting goals for yourself is following through with the actions it takes to make those goals a reality.
Since I made the decision to participate in this year’s Cooper River Bridge Run, I thought I should have a solid action plan to actually get myself to the finish line. I started researching training programs and found one that I really liked. Hal Higdon, a writer for Runner’s World Magazine, has several training regimens for novice, intermediate, and advanced runners training for anything from a 5K to a full marathon. I chose to go with the 10K novice program, which is free online, but does come with the opportunity to purchase interactive software.
I stuck with it pretty well for the first two weeks. The training program keeps you very busy six days a week with one day dedicated to rest. Things became a bit harder the third week, however, when my body went into shock from exercise overload! I haven’t spent a lot of time running in the past few months, so you can imagine how my legs were feeling after 14 days of working out with only two days off. On top of that, my work schedule has been very busy, and it rained non-stop last week, which lowered my motivation to get outside and run. Nonetheless, this blog is keeping me accountable, so I knew I had to get back into the routine this week.
A page from Hal Higdon's 10K training regimen details a weekly training schedule for runners.
On Tuesday, I completed the three-mile run after taking one week off, and it wasn’t terrible. I did have to walk some, but according to Hal Higdon, it’s ok to walk during your running workouts if you’re feeling tired or you need a break. Higdon stresses that the most important thing is to keep moving and finish the race, even if that means walking at times.
For me, this realization has been eye opening. When I first set this goal for myself, I wanted to be able to run the entire six miles without stopping. As I’ve continued my training, I’ve realized that this may not be as achievable as I first thought. I always considered stopping or walking in the middle of a race a sign of defeat or failure. However, this program has taught me that even when you are walking, you are still in forward motion moving toward that finish line, and that’s all that matters.
Thousands of runners cross the Cooper River Bridge.
I know that the night after the Bridge Run, I will have to sit down and write to you about my performance, and that has really helped me to stay on track with my training. If any of you are training to run a race for the first time, or you’re trying to work off a little winter weight, I really recommend finding an accountability partner to help you. Find a friend who wants to work toward the same goals, or keep a daily journal about your progress. If you have to say aloud or write down your excuses for not working out, it makes you less likely to back out of your plans and therefore helps keep you on track with your training.
I hope that I will be able to report back on April 6th that I ran the Cooper River Bridge Run in one hour and five minutes without stopping. But even if I don’t, I know that I will be able to say I finished a 6.2 mile race, and that’s something to be proud of.
Remember that reaching your goals may be harder than you think, but it’s always ok to stop and walk. Just keep moving forward, one step at a time, and you can go further than you ever imagined.
Lea Anna is a Louisiana native with an undeniable accent. Raised in a small town, she learned the rules of football and the words to "Amazing Grace" before she could spell her own name. Speaking of the name, she hates being called Leah or Leanne. It’s Lea, like sweet tea, add the Anna. These days, you can find her under the "big city" lights in Charleston, SC, chasing dreams she never knew she had. Like becoming a writer, getting a Master’s degree, and exploring life on the east coast. She hopes you leave this blog with a little insight, and a big smile. So, in the words of a Louisianan, “laissez les bons temps rouler.” Let the good times roll.