Setting goals and working towards them

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Setting goals and working towards them is something that keeps me motivated on making progress. Back in the spring, my diet and exercise underwent analysis by Josh Mann  which gave me a good number of points to work on with a few changes to make. Although I didn't follow all the advice to the letter, there were a few key elements which I took note of and applied.
Firstly, I looked at my diet; knowing that I'd been a bit/lot greedy on my carbs it was quite apparent where to cut down (I miss you....), upping my protein and fat intake has been a joy on balance so I've got no grumbles. 
Secondly, there was a weird chain of events whereby my boot camp training was cancelled for around three weeks after I received my advice from Josh, so in keeping with his suggestion to ditch the boot camp training in favour of getting in more runs. I was taking longer runs as well as intervals and averaging 4 runs a week. It was fun to start with! I liked grabbing my running shoes and heading out but by week three my enthusiasm had waned somewhat so when I heard that our boot camp was starting up I just.couldn't.stay.away. 
I once went to a talk by a world class horse rider (I've forgotten who it was, I'm ashamed to say) who amongst all her pearls of wisdom shared this; a horse she was training up loved to jump but hated flat work schooling and the more they tried to work on the dressage the more unproductive it became. To combat this they used what the horse did love to work on things it wasn't keep on. I'm seeing myself as that horse. I can use what really keeps me upbeat to work on everything else. I now run twice a week, two boot camp sessions plus one interval session as well. You know what? I feel better than ever and because I've found a balance that works for me. I tell as many people as I can; the key to exercise is to find something you love, something that you will want to keep doing again and again.
What I've been slowly been getting round to telling you is that I reached one of my goals, a recent 5k road race provided the perfect opportunity on lovely flat roads for me to give it my shot. My official race time was 22:10 but it was a race time, not chipped start to finish. My watch gave me the answer I had been hoping for. The week before the race I kept very positive about it; drumming into my head the times for each k so I would be able to keep on track to run sub 22 minutes. I discreetly asked for people to tweet me some good luck and a kindly response really lifted my spirits and filled me with that little bit more energy. I never actually considered at any point on that morning that I was aiming for 13 seconds off a previous season's best, a full 29 seconds off this season's best effort. There didn't seem an enormity of ask, or a crisis of confidence, it just felt like I'd laid out my plan and I was just going to tick each box as I came to them. At 3k I was still on track; but my mind does get very garbled by this point, thinking straight is hard. I got confused at 4k, thinking it was someone else's watch beeping so missed my time check, so had no idea what my time was other than I was fading and all I wanted to do was stop. I mentally gritted my teeth and kept going; I bloody wasn't going to let all those hours of training go to waste, all those times I could have just flopped on the sofa with cake. This really meant something to me so I gave it everything I could, everything I had left in the tank. My timer went off meters before the line so my reflex action walloped it as I ran. Even through the jostle of finishers I say my official race time as I crossed the line and my heart did sink a little while being handed my complimentary water, getting my chip removed then returning to find a medal and banana. Chris asked me what my time was and it was only then I actually looked at my watch; to my disbelief it showed my precisely what I should have seen; 21:59. 
I'd love to say I was over the moon but I couldn't really feel anything but sick as a parrot and desperately tired, which lasted a good few minutes. The idea of making that goal when I started running would have been insane, goals should be SMART don't forget. Make a goal which you realistically can work towards and make that achievement. Then make a new goal, work, achieve, repeat.
When I heard that Josh Mann Fitness had started up a boot camp class in Wymondham I just couldn't resist going along on a cool Sunday morning to be put through my paces. You have a fair idea of how things are going with the warm up and first exercises. I have to say I've never squatted as much in my life - two days on and I've still got DOMS, hurrah! With a session like this you will always find the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. We did partner work whereby each person did a different exercise then swapped once one of us had completed the reps. I'd not done this before and thought it worked far better than setting a time limit - you feel an obligation not to leave your partner suffering for too long! The workout really pushed me; with everything from weighted squats, press ups, crunches, rope throwing, shuttle runs, jumps, weighted walks, lunges, planking.... the list goes on.  The thing I think works best about about a class like this is that is is so inclusive; you work with others or alone, doing as much as you can sometimes with a considered weight. The activities always vary, no two weeks are the same which keeps things interesting. Josh was a great instructor; both focused and encouraging too; he definitely got the best out of us. You don't need much equipment, though he did bring an exciting range of shiny new kettle bells which I felt a little magpie-ish around and a few cones, hurdles, rope etc. 
Boot camp is something most people would really get stuck into - I'm sure of it, but you do have to give it a try! If you are in the Wymondham area you ought to get yourself along, the first session is free so there are no excuses! You can find out all about the class at Project FIIT. I'm gutted I don't live close enough to make it every week! 
Have you ever tried boot camp? You should. 
What about your fitness goals, do you make them and what are they?

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