Medal-Winning Strategies for Setting Goals
The Northside Hospital Atlanta Women's 5K is right around the corner. With its date of March 26, it might even be your first race of the year. Let's start the spring by taking your participation to the next level. We can do that in various ways.
The first might be to set a goal that excites and challenges you. Unless you are coming back from a major injury or other setback - or have only recently become physically active and have never done an event like this before - my advice is that your goal should be MORE than "just finishing." Yes, crossing that finish line is a wonderful moment, no matter what! But challenging yourself both physically and mentally will bring you extra satisfaction and an even - bigger sense of accomplishment and pride.
Some examples of possible goals, depending on your fitness level:
- Do a consistent run-walk from start to finish. Example: 30 seconds of walking and 30 seconds of running for the entire race.
- Run up the hills instead of deciding to walk.
- Run more of the race than you walk.
- Do the race with a friend or family member so that you can encourage each other to keep pushing yourselves.
- Set a time goal, figure out what pace you need to keep in order to reach it, and then monitor your watch during the race to make that happen. For instance, if you want to finish in under 45 minutes, you will want to be averaging 14 minutes and 30 seconds a mile.
- Run each mile of the race faster than the last.
- When you get passed by someone, try to pick up your pace to run alongside them for a few steps to give yourself a little of their energy.
Several ways to help you achieve your goals:
- In the time left before race day, walk or run a little faster when you train.
- Stretch more now and before the race. Two easy stretches involve the hamstrings and calves. For the hamstrings, slowly bend over and try to touch your toes. You can do this with your feet facing forward, then toes together with heels apart and then heels together and toes apart. For the calves, lean your foot up against a curb to feel a stretch in the back of your lower leg.
- Fuel and hydrate before the race. On the morning of the race, eat something easy to digest with protein and carbohydrates. An example of a simple pre-race breakfast is toast with peanut butter and banana.
- Get your shoes and outfit ready and try them before the race.
- Set up your pump-up music playlist now before the race.
Make 2022 the year you challenge yourself and let's start with the Northside Hospital Atlanta Women's 5K! Amy Begley, a 2008 Olympian, has been a coach at Atlanta Track Club since 2014. This article originally appeared in the March/April 2022 issue of Wingfoot Magazine.
Amy Begley, a 2008 Olympian, has been a coach at Atlanta Track Club since 2014. This article originally appeared in the March/April 2022 issue of Wingfoot Magazine.