Fitness Goals help or hindrance?

I Googled “fitness goals” this morning and found

Ask Men http://www.askmen.com/sports/bodybuilding_100/123_fitness_tip.html
Fox News has a Top 10 for people without goals http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/10/02/top-10-fitness-goals/
BodyBuilding.com Had 5 that everyone should include into their programs http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/5-health-and-fitness-goals-everyone-should-set.htm
Even the military has something to say at Military.com
http://www.military.com/military-fitness/health/standard-method-of-achieving-fitness-goals

All of the links gave great fitness advice but something is missing as we set our goals and I think that the Military.com site was really close to including the missing components in their article on goals. We need to remember WHY we are setting the goal as well as include the HOW we work to achieve them. When I set my goal to be fit or ‘Strong by 50’ my Why was so that I would be able to enjoy time being active without lagging behind and feeling old and out of shape. I didn’t spell the Why out as well as I could or should have. And I certainly didn’t worry about the How when I started out. It was mostly a fitness goal like the ones I Googled this morning.

I’ve never run a marathon but after reading other’s posts, articles and books there is a great feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction at having completed one. Personal Satisfaction and Accomplishment sound like good Whys. Although I have yet to run a marathon, I did complete a 100 mile bike ride years ago and enjoyed nearly the entire ride and I still feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that I trained completed that bike ride. I trained doing something I loved which was ride my bike and many times I enjoyed cycling with friends.

The training for the century ride could have been torture. The training required Speed, Hill and Long rides. I was a young man at the time and had a very youthful approach. I remember riding to the outskirts of town where my friends and I would foolishly let several large dogs encourage us to greater speeds. Once we were to safety we would pull off the road laughing and gasping for air. And for the hills we found one that was super long and quite isolated from traffic. Pedaling up was never fun but going back down now that was the payment in fun. The road was hot and we dared not use the brakes for fear of a tire bursting. At the bottom of the hill there was a long section of road to slow down and stop well before we were back at the main road. This brought fun to the Hill portion of training as did taking our mountain bikes up to Squaw’s Leap and doing some single track. Then there was the long slow ride or The Loop as it was called. Time would be spent visiting as well as just looking around enjoying being out in nature albeit on the shoulder of a busy road. The point here is that training wasn’t torture because we looked for ways to make it fun.

I’m new to running. I never expected it to be fun and actually thought it would be drudgery or a means to an end. But a few weeks ago I ran around a local lake and it brought back many youthful memories. That may be the day that I decided that I am a runner not because I am good at it or have met a goal. No, I am a runner because I enjoy running. Many local runners already know the secrets to running here in SE Alaska and making it fun and enjoyable.

Deer Mountain looking toward town

This picture borrowed from mastermarf.com

There  is a mountain with a beautiful trail to the top. I’ve hiked it many times and the views are breathtaking. So, on Hill day I can run to the summit, one of the lookouts or up to a picturesque lake

View of Carlanna Lake

Carlanna Lake.

that would change drudgery to fun. Speed work may not happen for me but I feel fast when I run on trails instead of the pavement. I hold a higher cadence and I have to leap over roots and branches as well as pick and choose my footing. And now for distance runs I think I will load my iPhone up with an album or new music and let my feet carry me along. I may be on the shoulder of a busy road but I will have mountains and ocean on either side to enjoy as well as my latest music. And I will stop and take pictures so that I can post my own instead of borrowing someone else’s.

When we are setting our goals we need to make sure that we remember the WHY and take some time with the HOW to make our program fun when possible this will make the goal a help. If we neglect the Why and the How when we set up our programs the goal may be lost and the work turn to drudgery. Remember how it was when we were kids, we would get a pair of shoes and be able to run faster and jump higher. I’m no longer a kid but I am going to enjoy my fitness program and put effort into the Why and How so that I will continue to enjoy being fit and having fun setting and fulfilling my goal to be Strong by 50.