By Kelly Howard
1. Pick the event you want to complete.
2. Reality check — is it doable?
3. Get your gear in working order.
4. Create a schedule you can commit to.
5. Layout your gear and clothes the night before.
1. Decide the event you want to do. Whether it’s 5K, a sprint, or a marathon, there are so many event options in Houston and the surrounding area. Decide what is it you want to accomplish and then check out our list of local fitness events on the BCO website.
2. Do a reality check. All goals need to be a tad of a stretch to make them fun and interesting, but they also have to be attainable. If you have never run before and decide that you want to run a marathon in 6 months, that’s doable, but is it the right choice? Always take into consideration if it’s good for your body, if you have the time needed to train, and if it is something that you want to do or is it someone else’s dream? You have to be excited and really want to achieve in order to put in the time needed to get there.
3. Make sure you have the right gear for the right activity. You don’t need to spend a fortune on new gear, but you do need to be sure that what you have, works. If you are running, are your shoes new enough to standup to your training and get you where you want to be? Running on broken down shoes can lead to injury. Is your bike in good working order, does it fit you properly? Do you have at the least the minimum gear you need to do what you want to do?
4. Get a schedule that you can commit to. The web is filled with training schedules; from 5k’s to Ultras, from a Century bike ride to a week-long race. All the info you need is out there. In fact, there is so much info to be had, that you should pick your schedule carefully. What you want to consider is: how much time do you have to train (be realistic), do you resonate with the writer/author and resonate with the schedule? What do you want to accomplish — are you going for a personal PR or do you just want to finish in a respectable manner? Here are a couple of examples as to how much a training plan can vary. There’s this one, and then there’s this one. Both of these training plans are for a Century (100 mile bike ride). The schedules vary wildly.
Also, make sure there is some flexibility for life to happen. Unexpected colds, guests, and travel can play havoc with a schedule that has no wiggle room. Remember, have a schedule that you can commit to, not something that someone else tells you is the right one.
5. The icing on the cake. Lay out all your gear the night before, every time. Reasons to not do what you need to do will always be there, probably yelling louder than you wish to believe, especially early in the morning or when you are rushed. Get that gear ready, put out your nutrition (breakfast, bars, powders, whatever you use), fill up your water bottles or have them next to your keys. Have everything you need in one place and ready to go. Nothing worse than driving 30 miles for your training ride and then not having your bike shoes or helmet!
Lastly, I’m a big believer in having designated bags for whatever it is I am doing. Keep your biking gear in your bike bag, your running gear in your running bag. If something needs washing, put it back in your bag soon as it’s ready to go. Keep your old gear around in your trunk as a spare. You never know when someone might forget something and you can save their training day for them. We’ve all been there. Remember how grateful you are when someone hands you that special something you forgot?
So, take the time to decide on what it is you want to do, be patient with yourself and with your training, and smile the whole way through! Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish.