I have to very honest and say that I am sad to see the end of 2012. As an English sports fan I have to rate it as a vintage year. Amongst the many highlights were a home Olympics and a Tour de France champion. It is also the year in which I ran my first marathon, at the age of 52, and equalled my half marathon personal best (PB) of 1.52 hrs. And if that wasn’t enough I also did my first triathlon and fell head over heels in love with the sport this year.
But I am not a great one for looking backwards and dwelling on the past – I prefer to look optimistically to the future. The fact that I couldn’t tell you exactly where my London Marathon medal is, but suspect it is buried underneath a pile of socks in a dresser drawer with various other finisher’s medals, illustrates how un-nostalgic I am about the past! So what about 2013?
I try to be very specific about my New Year’s resolutions, especially where they concern my running and triathlon. Last night I listened to several people resolve that in 2013 they were going to “get fit” or they were going to “eat better”. How do you know if you have been successful? How do you assess these? I think if you are to stand a chance of staying motivated and achieving what you set out to achieve then you have to set yourself very specific goals that you can measure.
As an example the very first objective I gave myself when I decided to get off my sofa and get myself fit and healthy (I can scarcely believe that it is over two years ago now) was: To lose 30 lbs by Easter. Then it was: to run 10k in under an hour by the end of June. No grey areas, these were “pass or fail” objectives.
Here are the goals I set myself this time last year (and the results):
- Complete the London Marathon in April (success)
- Complete my first sprint distance triathlon in the summer (success)
- Beat my 1/2 Marathon PB (almost – I equalled it!)
- Complete an Olympic distance triathlon (fail – I got injured a week before)
- Beat my 10k PB (fail – I didn’t attempt it for several reasons)
There is no hiding from these and I can’t pretend that I succeeded where I failed. I like it that way.
This is want I want to achieve, on the sporting front, in 2013
- Beat my 1/2 Marathon PB in March at the Bath Half
- Run a sub 50 minute 10k before 1 October
- Complete an Olympic distance tri in the summer
- Complete a 1/2 Ironman Tri before the end of the year (I am entered for Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote on 5 October)
I have one other sports related goal and here I am going to break my own rule about being specific. I want to get a better understanding of the extent to which what I eat day-to-day has an effect on my performance and then try it out. I am going to start with an obvious one and cut out alcohol until after the Bath Half on 3 March. I am not a big drinker anyway but I think that even small amounts of alcohol effect my recovery between runs. If you are in a training program that involves four runs a week it is important that you recover quickly after each one. Maybe once I understand the relationship between food and performance I will make a more specific resolution.
As sorry as I am to see the end of 2012, I am really excited about what 2013 has in store. As well as sporting challenge I am hopeful that 2013 will bring me some really exciting challenges professionally and personally. But above all else I hope we all remain healthy and happy.
Whatever you are planning or hoping for this year I hope that 2013 is everything it can be and more for all of you. But remember when you set your goals – get specific!!