Baby Steps to the End Goal

When I coached Team Challenge, my team was usually mostly newbies to the half marathon distance… or to any kind of distance and organized training plan. I used to tell the team to keep the end goal (their half marathon) in mind, but to not let it obscure the view to all the steps along the way (the training plan). It can easily feel overwhelming to think “OMG I’m going to run 13.1 miles and I’ve never run at all!” and let that cloud your vision. But you can’t just forget about the end goal completely either, else there is no motivation to keep walking that path.

I had one of those moments this weekend, I was really looking forward to my long run but on Saturday I woke up with a dull ache in my knee and by mid-afternoon the pain was pretty intense. And by that evening it was getting difficult to walk on it. I knew I had to get off it and take some recovery measures. Some cold therapy, some compression, some tape and it was feeling better by the next morning, but not good enough to run. So I rode the bike for an hour.

Disappointing, but my knee hurts and I’m exercising caution. #teamstonyfield #fitsnap

A photo posted by @jillwillrun on

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Not an exact match for my training (have you seen the Zero Runner?! I really want one of those for days like this… and for other days of the week.) It was hard to skip my run mentally, but I also knew that I had my end goal: running the Boston Marathon with Team Stonyfield in April. I have several more weeks of training and the race, but if I am feeling a little overuse tenderness and then push it too much, I could end up on the injured list and not even make it to the start line, much less the finish line.

Basically this approach works for a lot of things in life. It’s nearly the end of January, did you know that a lot of resolutions have already been dropped by now? In fact, many people give up on their resolutions just 9 days after they start them. And one of the problems is that people make resolutions that are not specific enough and neglect the small steps that need to occur along the way, instead making it one big leap at once. If people tweaked those resolutions, they may have more success.

Old Resolution: Eat better
New Resolution: Tweak one eating habit each week
Baby Steps: Pick a produce item off the Dirty Dozen list to start buying organically, switch to whole grains, savor each bite and eat mindfully, chew your food more thoroughly, stop calling foods “bad” and choose to focus on the benefits of foods that nourish the body more.

Old Resolution: Be a better parent
New Resolution: Focus on parenting quality each day
Baby Steps: Put down the smartphone, read one more story, listen with your full attention, never be the one that ends a hug

Old Resolution: Exercise More
New Resolution: Exercise at least 3x a week
Baby Steps: Add workouts to your calendar, try one new workout each month to find what you like, speak positively about exercise, don’t compare your efforts to somebody else

Perspective: Keep the end goal in mind, but don't let it obscure your view of the journey along the way.

As part of Team Stonyfield, I’m excited to represent the brand at the Boston Marathon. The company is certified organic, I’m helping to share the message that making little changes can help improve health and wellness. 

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2 comments

  1. Smart move! I love to follow a training plan to the letter. It pains me if anything gets in the way. But with this training cycle, I’m trying to be smart. I’m taking it day by day, week by week. If something comes up, I’ll deal with it. Missing one (or two or three) workouts won’t mean much in the end.

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