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August 26, 2013 • Health and Fitness

Use Back-to-School to Revisit Your Health & Fitness Goals – The Monday Mile

Revisit your health and fitness goals

Revisit your health and fitness goals

Many kids across the country are already in class, with other states opening within the next week. It’s back to school time, and that means getting organized for a new year. This sense of a fresh start can apply to everything, so as we get our kids equipped and organized, it is worth revisiting our health and fitness goals.

At the end of last year, I talked about using the ‘SMART’ system to evaluate your resolutions. I emphasized the importance of setting goals that would make you accountable for tracking and milestones, and that were specific enough to be measurable.

One important thing about setting goals is understanding that the assumptions used can change over time. For example, I have several running friends who have sustained injuries and a couple of them ended up in the ‘boot of shame’, and all of them needed to scale back their running goals considerably – at least one needing to cancel a race that was very important to them. And of course my brother had his major heart attack and is still slowly building back his fitness level under constraints of maintaining heart health.

My goals for the year were about running, racing, weight, electronics, guitar and writing. One thing I didn’t anticipate when setting these goals was that I would spent nearly every week for the first 7 months traveling to Kentucky for work. The immediate impact of that was I was away from my guitar 75% of the time, so I took that one off the table. Spending so much time in a hotel room meant constant electronics, so I have gotten worse about having to be always-on, and that is a challenge for me to tackle the rest of the year.

How about the rest of my goals?
Original: Maintain running at least 5 miles per day, 5 days per week all year long. Stretch goal – hit 2,000 total miles in 2013
Status: As of August 15th I have run just under 1800 miles. I have been averaging about 50 miles per week, and have just gotten back up to 75 miles per week, which I hope to sustain through my marathon in early October. One thing that has helped was doing ‘doubles’ in Kentucky – morning and evening runs.

Original: Run at least 2 full marathons. Stretch goal – run one ‘ultra’ marathon.
Status: I ran one marathon and am running another in early October. No plans for an Ultra this year. I had also hoped to run more short-distance races and a couple of half-marathons, but canceled all of those for work travel.

Original: Maintain weight at target for the full year with variations no more than +/- 5 lbs.
Status: I am actually down ~10 pounds since the beginning of the year, but have held that weight steady for several months.

Original: By end of Q1 decide on a story for NaNoWriMo, by Q2 have all main characters described along with a ‘one pager’ for plot. Have a beginning-middle-end level outline for the story in Q3, and complete a readable first attempt during NaNoWriMo.
Status: I have struggled with this one, with my story frameworks from last year going nowhere. I hope to get restarted with this now that travel has ended.

Eating well and maintaining an exercise routine can be challenging when traveling – and that was one of my big concerns. I approached this in a couple of different ways. First, I found the hotel that worked best in terms of my running route to get me to at least 7-8 miles every day. This made it easy to fall out of bed each day and get in my miles. I also found a great set of trails to run in the evening – when my schedule allowed. More often I would run near the hotel in the evening as well.

Eating well presents a challenge on the road. Fortunately, the hotel had a half-sized refrigerator in each room, so what I did was buy groceries for breakfast and dinner to last me the week, and found healthy options through the company cafeteria for lunch. It worked amazingly well – I was happy with my eating and felt great, and saved the company tons of money.

One goal I didn’t have was maximizing my family time. It is always something I strive for, but due to travelling every week I really savored my time at home. And while I got worse about electronics in some ways, when we had full-family days I had no issue shutting down. Over the last couple of weeks I have appreciated having lots of time at home with everyone, which is something I want to emphasize as we hit back to school and things get crazy again.

Did you set goals for the year? How are you progressing against them – and have you modified anything?

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