Tag Archives: Goal

Opening Weigh In

Well, that wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought…

I weighed in this morning for the first time since the wedding and I was 15st 4lbs. So a “holiday gain” of 12lbs. OK, that’s still a lot, but I had feared i’d come back over 16st, so that’s a real bonus.

Contextualising that for me, is that I am currently around the weight I was for the Paris Marathon last year. Not too shabby!

Now, doing what I do best (Putting together whizzy spreadsheets to make things easier for me to track)

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I can see that in order to reach my target, I need to lose 2lbs per week every week, and need to have a 3lb week too. Its ambitious but acheiveable.

No doubt I’ll lose a lot quickly and then plateau, but I am motivated to succeed and have set myself some interim goals to get some “quick wins” and stay on track.

Time to finally “finish” this weight loss thing!

 

Weston Christmas Cracker 10k 2014

Last year I took part in the Weston Christmas Cracker. It’s a 10k race in Weston-super-Mare, the popular west country seaside resort, home of the grand pier and other such things.I used it as a gauge and my last big race before starting my Marathon training.

I don’t often repeat the same race twice, but given the availability of local 10k races being slim pickings at this time of year, I thought I’d give it a go again.

Organizationally it was a slick affair for a relatively small race. With only 2000 entrants the race sells out very quickly. Numbers (With attached disposable chips) were set out in advance along with an extremely useful guide all about the race, the route, HQ bag drop, the works.

HQ was at Weston College and was spread across 4 floors, but it was very well managed and sign posted. I managed to drop my bag of securely with some great volunteers from Weston AC and headed to the beach toward the start. When I reached the beach I found it was more than a tad blowy!

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I knew this would be a problem. I’d had my heart set on breaking 42 minutes for this race, so I was pretty gutted to have these conditions – but they are what they are and there was nothing I could do about it! Its a shame about the wind too, as despite the temperature only being about 3 degrees, it actually felt quite mild.

After a bit of a warm up I headed toward the start. As this is very much a charity race (With the theme being somewhat obvious…) there was fancy dress everywhere. I was definitely in the minority.WP_20141207_002

As runners assembled I was keen to get a good spot nearish the front. There were no start pens or guide times for runners to stand at based upon estimated finish time, so i just got as close to the front as I could. I saw Kevin who I know from parkrun there and we had a bit of a chat whilst we waited to head off. I knew he’d run a fast time here before a few minutes quicker than the time I had targeted. So I didn’t expect to see him again after the start.

Before long we were off. I settled into my pace nicely, and the wind seemed to be behind, as I couldn’t feel it too much. This was a bad thing. The course was different this year to last year. We started in a different direction and did a mini-lap on the beach that was about 4 k, then a larger 6k lap. This however meant running into the wind for half the race.

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And I suffered with the wind, big time. OK, the wind behind would have helped some, but the swirling nature meant it was more of a cross wind than a tail wind, so it still whipped across.

I knew early on that sub 42 was overly optimistic. But I tried my hardest to get as close as I could. The support was tremendous, the marshals were excellent and the course was very good. No road closures in place but a very safe well organised route.

Running the last 3k back into the wind was utterly demoralising. I was watching the Garmin closely as I’d caught back some time, but I just couldn’t bring it back. Then turning back onto the beach for the last 500 yards the wind was right in your face and it knocked the wind from my sails. I kept my head down, motored on and crossed the line in 42.44 – Still a PB, but 5s per km off my target. It was tough.

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No goody bag from this race but there was a mince pie and possibly the best free technical tee I’ve received. Really top quality.

I stuck around and offered some support, but I cooled quickly and race HQ was 500 yards from the finish, so I made a jog to get my stuff and head home.

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Statistically speaking the Garmin made some balls ups. For some reason it screwed a whole load of elevation up at points during the race, and I’ve got no idea why. Here’s the full activity. My cadence lacked some consistency, but looking at my heartrate I don’t think I could have given it any more than I did.

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I have to say though, looking at the results I finished 71st, 1st in club (Ahead of Kevin, who I mentioned earlier) and 35th in my gender/age category. Out of 1700 finishers I was delighted with that! Its a shame it’s not a UKA race, as I’d like to see how the SSS and vSSS fared to see how I actually performed. But unfortunately I won’t be able to see. Either way, its 10 minutes better than my last years time – and thats a pretty satisfying improvement, year on year.

My final goal of the year is to run a sub 20 5k. I was hoping this would give me some confidence to hit that time in the Street 5k on Wednesday, but I’m not feeling hugely confident. There are 2 parkruns left in the year I can run yet though, so I’ll be giving it all I’ve got until the last moment. McMillan doesn’t think i can do it based upon yesterday’s time – but hopefully the conditions are better and I can prove it wrong.

But until next year, Weston…

WP_20141207_006UPDATE: Here are the suitably horrendous official race photos! Certainly won’t be paying for these!xmascracker4 xmascracker3 xmascracker2

 

Setting Yourself Goals

At Christmas I set myself what I thought would be an ambitious target of running 1000 miles in 2014*. In 2013 I ran 900 miles without really thinking about it, so i figured an extra 100 miles would be achievable. It seems to be a good week for me, as I crossed that threshold in last nights easy run!

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But it made me think about how important it is to set yourself goals. For me personally, having a goal keeps me motivated. And a goal could be anything running related and will entirely depend on where you are in your running “career”.

For some, completing your first 5k parkrun without walking may be your goal. For others, it may be to finish their first half marathon, by hook or by crook. They are all entirely personal, and with that goal you do a training plan which trains you for the objective at hand and keeps you focussed on it.

But once you’ve achieved that goal, what do you do next? Many people, myself included in the past, have not set a new goal and stopped running. For some, they may not WANT to run again. For me, it was just because I didn’t have anything to aim for. I’d go out for a few runs, not really try, end up walking a bit, and the frequency dropped off, and off and off until I was doing no running at all.

Generally speaking, beginners will want to do one of two things.

  • Go further – If they’ve run a 5k, they may want to run a 10k next, then a Half, then maybe even a full marathon.
  • Go faster – They may want to stick at that distance but get faster at it. For many, their weekly parkrun is all they want to get faster at!

I still follow this regime. I’ve worked my way up through the distances, and now I focus a specific training plan on a specific distance to make me faster at that distance. Beginners will find though, that by training for longer distances their shorter runs will naturally become faster just by doing more running.

The key word in that above paragraph is Specific. And it forms part of a goal setting methodology I found out about in my MBA studies known as SMART objectives. These are goals which are

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

By having a specific goal (For example, a 25minute 5k) you know that this can be measured (By your official race times, or your stopwatch over a course). Being Achievable and Realistic is important, as setting a goal which is too far in advance or too difficult from where you are/your current running condition may demotivate you, so set smaller goals and then renew those goals again once completed. By time binding it (A specific race) then it instills a sense of urgency and purpose to keep you motivated.

To help with this, you can back it up by promising yourself a reward or treat when you acheive your goal.

Here’s an example of my running goals that I posted over on Runners World back in January. (OK it’s two posts because the RW forum software is a bit shit)

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I used SMART objectives to come up with these. You can see they were specific and measurable, and they were achievable and realistic based upon my condition at the beginning of the year, and I had given myself the target of doing so by the end of 2014.

Thankfully, I smashed them all one by one by the end of May – except the weight loss, which was yesterday! And every goal I smashed, felt amazing. After each PB goal I set a new, revised goal and I am still motivated to acheive them all – and I firmly believe I can by the end of the year. Just as soon as this hot weather lets up a bit!

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Set yourselves some SMART goals and feel great every time you do them. Don’t forget for every running goal you acheive you will also be healthier and fitter from it – a nice side effect!

* I realised early on that I was going to make the 1000mi quite easily, so i revised it to 1252mi – 2014km

Weigh In: Plateau Smashed, Goal Achieved!

If you read last weeks weigh in report you’ll know that I’ve bee struggling with somewhat of a plateau in recent weeks, my body simply has not wanted to shift any weight at all. This has been tough to swallow as I was so close to my goal.

My primary goal has always been, ever since that fateful first day at Weight Watchers, to have a healthy BMI of under 25. BMI isn’t for everyone. I understand that if you are a body builder, or a rugby player then your BMI is not going to be an appropriate way to measure your health based upon weight. But for an average guy like me, not interested in bulking up, its as close to an accurate barometer as I am likely to find.

After following most of the advice in the article (I didn’t change up my workout routine, but I have changed my weigh day to non-running day) the results have been a staggering success. I weighed in at 14st7lbs. Thats a shift of 5lbs week on week.

Now, thats a huge amount and extremely unlikely to have been achieved in a week. I would say that last weeks was an anomalous result to some extent. But nonetheless I am absolutely chuffed as nuts. Thats a 10 year old goal, finally achieved.

I don’t have accurate records of my weight loss until I started using Garmin Connect in November. But since then alone the graph looks pretty cool.

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“Back in the day” I though reaching this goal would be some kind of watershed moment, that I’d be overcome with emotion, or want to throw some sort of party for my achievement. But it doesn’t really feel like that. Its taken me so long to do it, and there were so many false starts I’d feel a bit of a fraud for celebrating this. After all, the real challenge is learning to keep the weight off.

I still feel happy, but it’s not the life changing moment I thought it would be. Its more a sense of quiet satisfaction. Unless you’ve struggled with your weight you won’t understand I guess.

I want to thank the following people from the bottom of my heart for helping me acheive this personal goal. I quite literally couldn’t have done it without them.

  • Mum – without you I wouldn’t have gone to weight watchers and set me off on this journey
  • Jodie – You put up with the miserable weeks when I don’t lose weight, and the hours I’m out running. I hope the good times outweigh the bad! I love you

A New Goal

Since I’ve started running though and I’ve gotten closer to my goal I’ve realised that even a healthy BMI was still going to leave me with a bit of a wobbly belly and wobbly inner thighs. So it isn’t quite “Job Done” yet, and I’ve known for a while I’d need a secondary goal to shoot for. Much like with Races, its always best to have a target!

Trying to work out what that should be is a tough question. On the one hand, I’d like to have a certain body fat %, and on the other hand I’d like a mid-range healthy BMI. So I’ve gotten to work in excel and come up with some numbers.

  • According to the NHS, a healthy BMI ranges between 18.5 and 25. The midpoint of that is 22. At my height, I would need a weight of 12st13lbs (181lbs) to be this BMI.
  • The generally accepted body fat percentage for “Fitness” is between 14% and 17%. The midpoint for this is 15.5%
  • My current Body Fat % is 22.3%. If I were to take 7% off of my current bodyweight it would give me a weight of 13st 7lbs (189lbs)

Therefore, my newly amended target is 13st 7lbs (189lbs). Once I reach this target I’ll use the same methodology so see where my Body Fat is vs my Weight/BMI to see if I can find a way to reconcile those two numbers. But, for now at least, only 14lbs to go!