Setting Fitness Goals

Many people say they want to “get fit”, but how does one go about “getting fit?” It is important to set specific and concrete goals for yourself.

If your goal is to lose weight instead of “I want to lose weight” you might say “I want to lose 10 pounds.” To take it a step further, it helps to set a specific time limit for this goal. You could say “I want to lose 10 pounds in the next two months,” then break it down from there. We know that a safe weight loss is one to two pounds per week, so this is an attainable goal. You will need to do some research on your own to make an eating and exercise plan or join a weight loss program to give you some guidelines.

The same principle applies to exercise.  As a beginning runner, you might think, “I want to run a Marathon.” Well, a full marathon is 26.2 miles.  If you’re just starting out running, and try to run 26.2 miles, you will most likely not make it!  Start slow and build up to 26.2 miles.  There is nothing wrong with keeping your goal of running a Marathon, it just might take a while to build up to that.  Start with running ½ mile non stop, then ¾ mile, then a whole mile! Sign up for a 5K (3.1 Miles) and train for it. A little every day or every week. Make a plan and stick to it.

Having goals keeps me motivated.  I prefer to run alone, so my goals make me hold myself accountable. I have goals of how many miles I’m going to run in a day, a week, a month, a year. Each one builds on the next.  I have goals of which races I want to run and what times I want to beat in those races.

When I was 49, the farthest I had ever run was eight miles.  I decided I wanted to run a Half Marathon when I was 50.  I signed up for one nine months ahead of time for Labor Day weekend, but then another one came up in May in my hometown. I had been running every day all winter, short mileage, but I found a beginner Half Marathon training plan and started at week six (I crammed the 12 week plan into six weeks).  It helped that I had a good running base-I finished my first Half in two hours, 21 minutes and 18 seconds. It was hard, but I was proud of myself and it has pushed me to improve.

I don’t know if I will ever run a full Marathon, but I have plenty of goals to work at anyway. I don’t think I have ever finished a race without already being signed up for another one.  It keeps me going.  Also, I am currently on a run-streak of 358 days, almost one year, of running at least one mile every day.  Another goal to keep me moving!  Set goals for yourself! It doesn’t matter how small or how big, just break them down into doable steps and work on it a little at a time. You will be amazed at what you can achieve!

Written by Susan Horn, 2016 Fitness Ambassador