Setting goals…and a routine

Until recently, I never realized how much more productive I am when I have a set routine. Typically, I’m one to dally, dawdle and generally waste time when it comes to my personal life. This is particularly true when I have days off work and am home alone, which is frequent with my wacky work schedule.

Now that I’m all recovered from surgery and feeling like a human again, I decided that I needed some fitness goals. I ran cross country and track in high school and enjoyed it; running has always been my favorite, go-to form of exercise. It’s simple, cheap and you can do it anywhere. However, it’s been so terribly hot here this summer that I’d been doing most of my exercise inside at home, where I don’t have much workout equipment, save some free weights.

After much consideration, Dan and I decided to both join gyms. Us going to two different gyms is a bit odd, but that’s a post for another day. At any rate, I started running again and was impressed by how readily I’ve been able to pick it up and increase my mileage.

I’ve only run one race since my high school days, though I’ve always had intentions to run them more regularly. This time around, I did what all the experts say you should and I signed up in advance. Though I’ve run upwards of 10 miles in a go before, I’ve never raced anything longer than a 5k. So I aimed for something a bit greater this time around (but not too great) and signed up for the Lewis and Clark half marathon, which is Oct. 3.

The race isn’t too far off, but I’m into my third week of training and confident that I will be able to finish it without killing myself, albeit slowly. The bulk of my runs have been on a treadmill so far, which isn’t ideal but it’s a lot better than dying of heat stroke. My hope is that I’ll be able to do more outside in the last three weeks or so training.

To compensate for the lack of outdoor factors (wind, heat, hills, etc.) during my treadmill runs, I’ve been doing hill and interval programs daily. For my long runs, I’ll run for 1 mile with an incline, 1 mile without, 1 mile faster, 1 mile slower, etc., to at least trick my body into feeling like I’m on the road.

Training mumbo-jumbo aside, the real point of this post is that I now have a goal and a deadline that someone other than myself is holding me to. I have a training regimen with a specific assignment for each day. Assignments I must do, or I’ll fail at achieving my goal come October. This goal and this specific training plan force me to get my act together every day. I wake up earlier than I used to and spend my time more wisely because I have less of it floating around. I feel energized and accomplished, no matter how crummy things can get at work or what annoying things happen throughout the day. When something frustrating happens, I flash back to my morning run and think, “Even though (fill in the blank) sucks, I ran 5 miles today.” And that’s a good feeling.

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