Getting back into things is hard. I often tend to look back at where I was when I was running half-marathons and looking hot (well, I felt that way, which is more important) at my sister-in-law's wedding, and thinking, that's what I should be aiming for. Actually, it isn't.
It took me a long time and a lot of steps to get to that point, and it's going to take me a long time and a lot of steps if I am to get back to that point again. But looking out that far is more daunting than inspiring. It's good to have a big picture - it works like a roadmap with your destination across on the other page - but like any good roadmap, there need to be landmarks and signposts along the way.
This is what I mean by small goals.
At the moment I am starting again from the beginning. I don't even have that residual or maintenance fitness that you can keep by doing just enough. It is all gone. So I am working out what is realistic and achievable for me. I started out walking at the beginning of the year and now I have done about a month of starting to run again.
I have three* small goals:
- To run my 5km loop in under 30 minutes. When I am fit, I seem to run about 6 minute kilometres, no matter what distance I extend out to. So this is working on getting my speed and cadence approximately right.
- To get around my 8km loop without stopping. There are a couple of wee hills in there and I just can't get up them without slowing to a walk. I plan to focus on a different one each time and knock them off individually so that I know that I can do each of them, and then coordinate them into the whole thing. This is working on my stamina.
- To do three bits of exercise a week. Added to those two runs, I do one fitness class/boxing bootcamp a week. That is the easy part, as it is timetabled. Theoretically I should then be able to go for one run on either a Thursday or Friday afternoon, and one on Sunday. However, the small people have activities too and I confess to being a complete flower if the weather is ick. So three bits of exercise a week, in winter, is more of a challenge than it should be. This is working on routine.
The good thing is that these small goals are easily measurable, and therefore very difficult to cheat on. I don't have too many either, that would make them difficult to track. When I achieve one, I can then extend it out a little; distance, time, how many, whatever.
The whole point is to make things easier for myself.
Where are you at on the return to fitness? What small goals have/might you set for yourself? How do you make things easier? Please comment below, I'd love to hear from you.
*Actually, I have another one; to blog everything at least once a fortnight, so that I can be publicly accountable for what I do and don't achieve. And if I manage to inspire even one person to have a go as well, that would be excellent.