Not too long ago I had a phone call from a prospective client. She shared with me her goals about participating in an Ironman competition within a year.
My mind thinks "Ironman? Wow, this gal must be in shape to be training for an Ironman!"
Then, I hear she has never even RAN a 5K, 10K or even a Half Marathon. LOTS of walking, though.
I am ALL about going out to a race and FINISHING. Sometimes just the finish is the prize, isn't it?
However, when we set goals, we MUST, MUST, MUST be realistic in our time, our resources and our fitness levels. We cannot predict where we will be in a year or even 5 years. We can only train in the HOPES to achieve those goals. We never know if we will achieve them or not.
But, I caution anyone who has such lofty goals and have not even mastered the simplest of athletic achievements. They are set up for injury, burn out and stress.
The Ironman will always be there. Full and Half Marathon's are always there. Your training must match what you can do today, not in where you want to be in a year or 2 years.
When I started training for the Vegas Half in 2010. I had one goal: to finish.
So, I trained...LOTS of walking and some running to get me to 13.1 miles. But, I could often only walk/run for 5 miles, at the most. As my fitness increased, I ran more and walked less. Never loosing sight of the goal - to FINISH, but I was always realistic on my speed and time. For me, it would of been unrealistic for me to train for a Full Marathon in 7 months, with no prior training.
I trained to sub2 at the Laughlin Half Marathon. I was REALLY close to that pace. I mean seconds away from that pace. It is also the race I suffered a hip blow out. Life changer. I had set my goals too high. I wasn't ready.
So, I spent the next few months, getting ready.
LOTS of 5k & 10k races and a few Half Marathons. When I finally did sub2, I knew I was ready and I did it, and the next week two with another sub2 PR. I would of LOVED to sub2 at ET or Twilight. But, my body wasn't ready and I didn't push myself to try to do it. When my body was ready, it let me know on the course. All I could do is do my training.
My body was in control, not my ego.
Set your goals - but remember, you only have one body. Train for your own race, but don't kill yourself in the process and be mindful of what you can and cannot do.
Not everyone qualifies for Boston on their first Marathon and certainly a first-time 5ker isn't going to set their sights on Boston, if they are smart.
Dream Big, but try to stay on this Planet. Otherwise, you will be discouraged before you even began.
Where is that person who I spoke with? From what I hear, she is still struggling with her training and having too lofty of goals. I believe if she would just step back and enjoy the fitness level where she is now and train from there, she would feel a whole lot better and enjoy the sport more, and soon be an Ironman.
What are your thoughts? Have you set too high of goals to come crashing down or injured?
(c) C. Ragsdale 2011
Celebrate Your Finish,
Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Certified Sports Nutritionist, Running Coach & Public Speaker
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