From the beginning of Mission StrongFast, my goal has been clear. I want to run a 5 k race in a time of 18:45, or faster. I want to be elite, and this time will qualify me as being just that. In 4 weeks time, at the Army Run on September 22nd, 2013, I will run my first 5 k race since starting this mission.
After a spring and summer full of running, strengthening, refueling and recovering I can confidently say that I am stronger and faster now than I was 4 months ago, and probably than I have ever been. I can also confidently say that, though I have moved towards my goal of a sub-19 minute 5 k, I am not there yet. My current personal bests in fewest segments and shortest elapsed time to 5 k at the 3:45 min/km pace indicate that it is unrealistic to think that I will be able to run sub-19 in 4 weeks time. Keeping this as my race goal for Sept. 22nd would be unrealistic, and would likely to lead to disappointment on race day.
Following this realization, it was time to establish an intermediate goal for the Army Run! Having a goal that is difficult but achievable will provide me with training motivation during each workout over the next 4 weeks. It will also help to guide my training leading up to the race, as I work to gain every bit of training effect possible.
The goal that I have set for myself is to run sub-20 minutes. Based on where I am at currently, I feel confident that I can run the 5 k in under 20 minutes, but that I will have to continue to train hard in the weeks leading up to the race, as well as race hard the day of the race to be able to do it. Establishing this goal has very much had the desired effect on my motivation. I feel excited before each training run, and as I'm pushing myself and feeling the exertion or fatigue, I know that I am bringing myself that much closer to my goal. If I had not set an intermediate goal and instead used my long-term sub-19 goal as my goal for this race, my current training would likely have felt too distant from my goal to have the same effect on my motivation.
This motivational effect is a major reason why it is helpful to go through the process of creating goals for yourself, and then establishing sub-goals along the way. It builds a ladder to bridge the gap from where you are presently to where you want to be, and by building a tangible path to your goal, you can then start working towards it.
I want to be an elite level runner. To be able to achieve that, I need to run a sub-19 minute 5 k, which will involve various forms of physical and mental training to get me to that level. Having the intermediate goal of running a sub-20 minute 5 k has increased my drive to put in the physical and mental work that is required to reach my end goal.
On September 22nd, expect to see me sprinting past the 20 minute pace bunny in the final few hundred metres of the Army Run, as I plan on concurring this goal, on the path to StrongFast eliteness!