Last year, my health goals were the ones that fared the best out of all my other goals. I was able to keep a consistent training routine from January to mid april, often going to the gym in the morning and running in the afternoon and one day on the weekends, usually amounting to around 10 workouts per week. Once we moved into our new house though, my plan really fell by the wayside – there was just too much to do at the house, and I didnt carve out time to go to the gym. Lots of this is obviously my fault, so enough with the excuses. I was able to get back into the routine in fits and starts once we got back from our honeymoon, but nothing really ever stuck the way that it did early in the year.
After reflecting on the year, I realized that this was probably because I had no goal to aspire to. I’m well aware that being healthy now and later in life will save me all this money, allow me to spend more time with loved ones in the future and get around better. Unfortunately, those things (like retirement) are a very long way out, and it’s difficult to set aside time to work on them or deal with them. I’ve realized that with all my goals, it’s best to have a timeframe to stick to, and for exercise for me it means some sort of race or challenge. This year, I’ve got a few races planned (though not many at the end of the year) to make sure that I stick to my training plans.
I’ll be running the Wyoming Ultramarathon in late may (it’s a 50k), and in mid june, I’ll be traveling to vermont to race in the spartan death race. After I heard about the death race 4 years ago, I really wanted to give it a try, and this year I’ve decided to stop screwing around and waiting and just go for it. There’s about a 15-20% completition rate for the race every year, so odds are I’m not going to finish, but I hope to be in shape enough by the time the race rolls around to be happy with my performance.
Like my financial goals, I’ve broken the main goal (the death race) down into smaller things that I need to do every day, every week and every month to get ready for it. Here’s the list:
- Carry my pack to work every day. Early last week, I filled a backpack with a bunch of heavy objects and have been carrying it around when I walk to and from work. Right now, the pack weighs about 25 lbs, and I’m hoping to increase the weight to 40-50 pounds gradually. There’s nothing really in the pack but heavy stuff, so this should be relatively easy.
- Take the stairs at work every day. Once again, another daily goal. I work on the 4th floor, and the walk with the pack gets a tad tiring when I’m all the way up at the top, but it’s getting easier every day to walk up the stairs. Hopefully soon I can be running up the stairs with my pack!
- Follow my gym routine. I’ve developed a specific plan for each day of the week with what exercises that I will do. I think this will work better than last year because last year I did what I wanted and ended up really neglecting my deltoids/hamstrings workout because I thought it was an annoyance. This year, I’ve got a workout for each day, and all I have to do is roll out of bed and head to the gym.
- Run 3x per week. At the moment, my 50k training program has not kicked in (it will at the end of the month) but right now I’m trying to run about 10 miles per week (with my pack) to prep for both races. I have a schedule for my 50k training, and I havent decided if I’m going to run all those runs with the pack or not yet though.
- Change Diet. After about a week of this program, I have noticed one thing: I’m starving all the time. I’m eating more for breakfast than normal, eating a snack before dinner and more food at lunch and dinner, and I’m still hungry. I dont know what the deal is, but I’m pretty sure that something’s got to give with my diet. I have never really tried to change my food intake in my life, so there is going to be a lot of learning going on here before I figure out what exactly I’ll be doing. I’ve looked into a few programs, but I think I need to eat 5 meals per day instead of the normal 3, with reduced portions. I’ll let you know what I figure out though.
This may seem like a lot of goals, but unfortunately it will only get me through mid year. I’ll probably take the end of june and some of july off from running (but still go to the gym) and re-assess at the beginning of Q3 how I’d like to finish out the year. There is a winter death race, but I’m not sure if I’ll want to do that or not. There are always other races that I can do that are much shorter and require less training, but I’d have to look into more of those as time goes on. Right now though, I’m set until mid june and will re-assess later.
Readers: What are your health goals for this year? How specific are they, and do you have a plan to complete them?