Goal Setting: Training From Zero to Half Marathon

Ok guys. It’s time to stop the Netflix binge and get back to life. Some of you may be pulling your hair out from feeling cooped up due to the quarantine. I hope you’re safe and feeling sound during this crazy time.

How are you keeping active and healthy? How are you utilizing your time? Our health is more important than ever to think about, and exercise is something we should put on the top of our list. 

It’s a great time to set a fitness goal for yourself. The gyms and exercise studios are closed. But guess what’s free and easy to do even now, during this crisis? Running!

Have you ever wanted to run on a consistent basis, or learn how to run? 

Training for a race is a metaphor to life in so many ways. I know that a race is in no one’s future at the moment given our circumstances, but we can still train for one! After running many races myself, I found them to be a great journey of self growth, fitness, and lessons on perseverance. Here is a post by my friend, El Raker, about her experience in finishing her first half-marathon. Enjoy!

Training from Zero to Half-Marathon

Training and subsequently running a half marathon was one of the hardest things I’ve physically done.  I did not choose this race because I love to run.  It was actually the opposite, or almost the opposite.  I didn’t HATE running but I severely disliked it. And it was really, really hard for me.  Especially in the beginning.  

So why did I run a half marathon?  

  • Because I knew it was time for me to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself,  
  • because it had been on my bucket list for years and but I was too afraid to commit,
  • because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do hard things!

Throughout my training journey, I had many epiphanies during my long runs.  Lots of motivational shit going through my head. I realized, this goal was just like any other really hard goal we set…physical or mental:

1. It’s ALWAYS hard at first.  

If it was easy it wouldn’t help you grow.  My first month of running was torture.  I thought, no way am I going to be able to run 13.1…I couldn’t even do 2!  

But I learned to trust the process. I had months of training ahead of me, so instead of thinking of the final steps, I just focused on the next step.  I tried not to look ahead or think about those looming 10 mile runs, but just to follow my training day by day, week by week.

I just had to take the first step, and then the next step, and the next step, and so on.

2.  Your first steps will be the hardest.  

Even in my very last training run, the first mile or 2 was so incredibly hard.  It just took time for my body to loosen up and fall into a rhythm.  

In the beginning I so badly wanted to quit, but kept going because of my partner and because of my stubbornness.  But over time, I realized it will get better if I just ride out the first mile or 2 no matter how rough it seemed.  It always gets easier!

3. Find a running partner, either a person literally by your side, a virtual one from far away, or someone you can turn to for support and guidance.  

Thank goodness for my hubby.  I needed to know he was with me so I could have the confidence to even start this process. In the end, he didn’t run many of the training runs with me and knowing that I was able to do it by myself was priceless.  But just knowing that he had my back made a huge difference.  

On race day, his pacing made all the difference.  So whatever you’re trying to attempt, make sure you have your person to help guide and support you…even though you’re doing it all yourself!

4. Break down your goals into attainable smaller goals.  

When I had to run my long runs, I didn’t think about getting to the final distance.  I only thought about the halfway mark. Because I knew once I was more than halfway, I couldn’t turn back.  The distance was the same both ways.  So with any goal, we need to figure out our half way points (the point of no return) so that we keep going.

5. Set your goal to music.  

I really resisted this in the beginning and told my hubby that I just wanted to listen to my thoughts.  He urged me, (begged and pleaded with me!) to get a good motivating play list.  He was right! (I don’t say those three words lightly)

Music made a huge difference in running but really it’s good to have a soundtrack or just a motivational song with any goal. Something that will get you to do all the things you don’t want to do, but know you have to!  Or just something fun to move and destress with when a deadline is looming!

6. Share your goals with EVERYONE!

Once I decided to run, I started posting about it on social media.  I wanted to be accountable.  It’s a lot harder to back out of something if everyone knows you’re doing it.  

Although, there is a caveat to this…if you have people in your life that are not supportive, maybe don’t share with them.   Only people below you can bring you down, anyone ahead of you will lend you a hand to try to lift you up! Once I was accountable, it was harder to back track! Sharing with my network of people also had another unexpected benefit, I had a huge support group. This was especially remarkable on race day and so appreciated!!! If your people don’t support and lift you, it’s time to find new people.

We all need to do hard things in our lives, and whether we succeed or fail is really not the point.  Because if you just do it, and do it again, and redo it…you will eventually succeed, and you will only fail when you stop trying.

“A goal should scare you a little, and excite you A LOT –  Joe Vitale”

You can find more from El on Instagram @adrandamom. And on her blog.

For a plan in how to start running, visit the post I wrote, Marathon Runner’s Top Five Tips to Start Running

Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt.