By February each year, nearly 50% of people have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions. Keeping a goal is tough. And any exercise goal – whether it’s taking walk every day or training for a marathon – requires time and sacrifice.
Since I started seriously exercising and running about 7 years ago, I’ve missed an hour or two of sleep regularly to get up early for runs. I skip late Friday nights to get up early on Saturdays to do a long run. I do yoga or foam roll after dinner in the evenings.
But I have found, and I think you have as well, that exercising and setting an exercise goal feels good. Exercise releases endorphins which lower stress and reduce the perception of pain. They make you feel happy. And if you add a goal to your exercise, you get the extra benefit of a dopamine release. Your brain releases dopamine when you achieve a goal. Dopamine signals a pleasurable reward and encourages you to receive that reward again (which explains why exercise is addicting).
But achieving a goal is admittedly still hard despite the mental and physical benefits.
To succeed at achieving a goal:
Pick a goal that is challenging and achievable.
If you’ve never run before, deciding to run a marathon right away isn’t a good idea. If you want to run a marathon someday, start with a more achievable goal like a 5K or 10K, then run a half marathon, then run a marathon. Set yourself up for success.
Make a plan.
A fail to plan is a plan to fail. So, if you have a goal, write down a detailed plan for how you will achieve that goal. If you don’t know how to achieve it, get help from a reliable source like a trainer or friend who has achieved the goal before.
Join a positive group of like-minded people to encourage you.
Exercising with a group like HIIT Like a Girl or the Runners’ Retreat 10K training group gives you accountability. If you decide to hit snooze and miss a workout, you’re not the only one who knows. A group also provides encouragement. And it just makes exercise more fun. It plants you in a group of friends who not only want to succeed themselves but also want you to succeed.
Running a 10K is a great, achievable goal. Runners’ Retreat and HIIT Like a Girl are cooperating to offer a training group for the 2017 Apple Blossom 10K! Training starts February 13, 12 weeks out from the race. By joining, you get two great coaches plus a fun group to train with. We’re offering plans for novice and intermediate runners. Plus, we’ll have weekly group runs along with regular events. Training group members will also learn about topics like hydration and race-day preparation.
If you’re ready to run your best Apple Blossom 10K, click HERE to join!
“What separates a winner from the rest of the pack is not raw talent or physical ability; instead, it is the drive and dedication to work hard every single day, and the heart to go after your dream, no matter how unattainable others think it is." – Linda Mastandrea, Paralympian