Sunday, 31 March 2013

New Personal Best... Ennis 10K Easter Weekend

So yesterday was my second 10K event. I ran the Eamon Moloney Memorial 10K in Ennis on Easter Saturday in FIFTY FOUR MINUTES THIRTY SECONDS! Sorry for the caps but I'm just so delighted I can't believe it!

The interesting thing about this run was my time. I was so happy to stay ahead of the 60 minute marker that a few times I turned around to make sure I couldn't see it coming over the horizon. The markers are great to keep you in check so you know exactly where you are.

I also ran this race with headphones in - and I found my Nike App kind of threw me off, as when I'd see a sign saying '5K' it would be 5 to 15s later the Nike App would tell me my distance/pace. I found myself waiting for her to start sprouting on at me. The advantage of having it though meant that I could keep my pace in check so I knew if I could slow down a little without compromising my overall time.

This run was so different though to my first 10K four weeks ago for a number of reasons! 
  1. My head was on my finishing time rather than just finishing the race. I knew I could do it which changed the dynamics of this race, I felt more competitive and found myself overtaking people to keep my pace. The race was on open roads so we were running in the hard shoulder - which didn't give much room to overtake. When I did overtake someone, I made sure I didn't let them re-overtake me.
  2. I knew the route - I even passed my home house and my grandparents were out in the garden waving me on. My grandfather took two photos which were blurry and of my back but bless... He also took great pride in telling me "Jeez you were very far back!"... FFFFF YOU Grandfather... I'd like to see you try :p
  3. I was running this race for myself! No one was around this weekend and I knew there would be no one waiting at the finish line for me. My parents were working, my sister was away and my other half was gone into town (totally fair enough, I wouldn't hang around for anyone for an hour!). 
Another influencing factor of this race and something which fuelled me on was the fact it was a race on home-turf. At the start line, I saw someone in front of me who was a complete dick to me when we were in school together many moons ago. So instead of being the bigger man now (not literally), I took great pleasure in passing him out. I also checked his finishing time and he finished after me so that made me happy :)

As I was coming up around the half-way mark, I saw another guy I was in school with. You know, one of those smarmy good-looking fucks who always took every opportunity to make you feel bad. Well, I can now tell you that his hair has thinned out so much I barely recognised him... It was definitely him (I checked afterwards). Anyway, I kept my eyes on him and took great pleasure in overtaking him. I hope he recognised me - I hope he felt something thinking 'Shit - There's John Q from School... Thinner and Faster than me'... but that's probably giving him more brain-credit than he is worth.

I'm not a bitter person... Promise!

Anyway. As I turned the corner and was on the home stretch up to the finish line, there was my other half waving me on from the side-line. It's things like that that spur me on - Knowing that I have the support from the people around me who care that matters most! I crossed the finish line in 54m 30s. Me...

I'm now looking forward to my next 10K race despite having nothing planned. And yes, while I'll never be a Course Record setter, I'm going to keep this up - I'm absolutely loving it - and that is the biggest surprise/gift of all.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Round 2 (Ding Ding!)

Hard to believe that at the start of this month I had never run in ANY kind of race before - now here I am at at the end of March about to head off on my second 10K.

I am running in the first Eamon Moloney Memorial 10K in Ennis tomorrow morning. 'Why Ennis?' you may be thinking - we'll... Its my home-turf - so why not?

I am actually really looking forward to this - and I'm delighted to have signed up for it. As you know, a gang of us from work signed up for the Kinvara 10K and there was great motivation flying around between us at work getting ready for it. A lot of the gang have since not run since Kinvara while I have been going at it like a loon :)

I feel more confident and ready for this - and now I have my Kinvara time to beat (61mins). I am running this for myself - to beat myself. I don't care where I finish in terms of overall rankings - that has never been my concern. I am however looking forward to improving on my time. Here's hoping all my work this month pays off.

Talk to ye all on the flip-side :)

Pssst: I also get to run past my parents house, so fully expect to see my dog at the window waiting for me to pass

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Bye Bye Obesity...

Thirty weeks ago, my BMI looked like this:

That was when I weighed over 19st... As you know, I have been working hard at both my weight-loss and fitness so today I calculated my BMI:

While I have knocked 25% off my BMI, I am still 'Clinically Obese'... but not for much longer!

My overall goal from here on out is to:

1) Continue losing & maintain my weight-loss
2) Be faster, better, stronger, healthier

I had a quick google of the health risks associated with obesity which grabbed my attention - This chart fro WebMD certainly scared me considering I was classified as Obesity III (Extreme) which put me in the Extremely High Risk category

I hope to start April (and the rest of my life) never being obese again. I am on the cusp of moving from the Obesity category into the Overweight category which I can totally cope with.

That's the good news. The bad news is: I have another 30lbs to go to reach 'Healthy'.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The end (of March) is nigh...

As Week 3 of March comes to a close, I have been reviewing my progress on my March plan... Basically I just want to see if I should bother buying an Easter Egg or not! The goal was to run 100km tracked by my Nike Running app. Today [March 24th], my March tally is at 66.5km.


My excuse for being so far behind with a week to go is that I was sick this week. (If anyone says man-flu isn't real - they are dead to me!).

Right now I am thinking:

Now - all is not lost as I have also accrued numerous Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred's and have clocked up over 61km walking this month. I am 7lbs lighter today than I was at the start of the month. That's my silver lining. 

I also have my next 10k at the end of this week - I am taking part in the Eamon Moloney 10K in Ennis on Easter Saturday... My goal for that is to come in under the hour mark. I'm even going to be as bold as to hope to come in somewhere in the 55-57 minute window :)

Thursday, 21 March 2013

What happens when you take your eyes off the prize...

This has been a funny week. I was away in Dublin for the Bank Holiday so wasn't out doing any exercise - and when I got back home on Monday, I was struck down with a deadly form of man-flu...

Because I am a martyr of the highest order, instead of taking time off work to recover, I went out for a walk & went to work... Yesterday I was feeling particularly unwell and when someone opened a pack of Chocolate Digestives at coffee break - I had two.

Two biscuits - whats the big deal?

Later in the afternoon when I went into the kitchen at work, the packet was still there, open and calling to me - so what did I do. I had another biscuit. Three biscuits - whats the worst that could happen?

We had an offsite meeting at work yesterday evening, so when we arrived at the venue there was tea/coffee and a giant tray of biscuits. I had another biscuit while sipping my coffee getting settled in for the meeting. Followed by another biscuit on my way out the door afterwards (Hey, the tray was still there).

I had become a biscuit monster! (Now I know what you are thinking - 5 biscuits does not a biscuit monster make! True... But considering the number of biscuits I've eaten in the past 6 months... it does).

The most alarming part of all of this was then I realised what I had done without thinking about it. My willpower is usually strong and I am not one for berating myself for indulging in treats, sweets or chocolate. But this had happened without me even thinking about it. I blame my man-flu and general feeling of unwell-ness... but when I pointed my few measly biscuits they came in at FIFTEEN PRO-POINTS!


I'm angry at myself for letting that happen without it being a conscious decision. If I had 15 pro-points lying around I would use them on something that was a real treat - like half a tub of Haagen-Daas - or an Easter Egg - or a Takeaway.

I think my guilt is also being fueled by the fact I haven't been out on the road this week therefore haven't earned them. I'm feeling much better today and plan on hitting the tarmac from this evening to make up for my lack of exercise in the first three days of this week.

I am a mere 2lbs off my next Silver 7 at Weight Watchers, that will be 5 stone! I have to keep my eyes on the prize - Be fit, be healthy, be strong :)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

How Week 2 played out...

My plan for Week 2 of March was pretty comprehensive I felt - especially last week when I was setting it. It looked like this:

Instead of sticking to it - I think I went a bit OTT:

My week consisted of 2 x Cross Training sessions with Jillian Michaels, 5 x Runs and 3 x Walks. I worked out on my planned Rest Day (Tuesday) and only took one Rest Day this week (St Patricks Day) which I facilitated with a massive hangover.

I think what happened to me this week was my fear of the weekend. I was going to Dublin for the Bank Holiday weekend and knew that once I left the house on Saturday morning, I wouldn't be doing a tap - so I tried to cram in as much as possible early on in the week. I will admit I did feel the strain on my legs by Thursday of having gone pretty hard at it earlier on in the week.

I am putting my lack of commitment to my plan down to my inexperience with taking a full weekend off, which I didn't really do anyway. I ran the last of the Amphibian King 'Zero to 5K' session on Saturday but I'll post about that later in the week. Also, I have no set plan for this week which I will work on this evening.

As I sit here on Tuesday morning sipping Lemsip, I also fear I may be coming down with something (not good!). It's 11 days to my next 10K in Ennis on Easter Saturday and I haven't ran 10K since Kinvara which was over two weeks ago. My plan for this weekend is to get a 10K in which means I may pull back a little during the week as I don't want to have tired legs going into the weekend.

I will however leave you with this pic from the Girls Aloud concert at the weekend (which was epic!):

Friday, 15 March 2013

I wonder do miracles happen?

Today, I was on Facebook and saw the following update from Paddy Cunningham:

Dumbfounded... I just sat there and just let his words resonate inside me. His words bounced around inside me before resting heavy on my heart. I could identify with each and every single line Paddy had written from different times in my life. I understood every single emotion Paddy must have felt writing that in his journal over 3 years ago as if I had written them myself. For those who don't know who Paddy Cunningham is, he was the 2011 Runner Up on the UK version of The Biggest Loser. He lost over 8st in 9 months and now works as a Personal Trainer in Sligo/Dublin. 

Thinking back, I can remember two of the lowest (i.e. highest weight) points in my life. The first was about 8 & a half years ago. That was when I joined WW for the first time. Back then, I was a fresh-faced 21 year old with the self confidence of a bruised potato. I lost just under 50lbs (I quit WW because I was cocky and 'knew it all' - Disaster!). At the same time (when I was my lightest) - the most wonderful man came into my life. 

I fell in love (aw!) and as the time passed... the weight crept back on! I went up to over 18st, back down to 15st 7lbs, back up to over 19st. The one thing that never changed was his love for me or my love for him. Anyway, I am digressing but only because I feel this is the only difference between Paddy's story above and my own.

I've always been an extroverted person - I feed off other people's energy, I love being out & about and love spending time with other people. I'm pretty sure people have always though that I was happy but really, my weight has been something that I have struggled with internally my entire life. 

A friend of mine found a box of old photos and sent me this photo today from years ago when we were both still in school (around 1999):

Disclaimer: That's the shine off the flash not a gammy design on my shirt

It kind of brought back a flood of memories - probably sparked by Paddy's post above but it really got me thinking about my weight. Eight years ago (2005), I looked like this:

Three years years ago (2010), the weight had come back on and I looked like this:

I went globetrotting for a few months and came back 2st lighter thanks to the backpacker diet of beans on toast for breakfast/lunch/dinner looking like this (Same shirt for comparison):

Fast-forward to 2012 and I'm back up past my previous heaviest (18st) to 19st 2lbs:

I'm 28 weeks into my weight-loss journey and have ditched over 4 & a half stone and now look like this:

Reading Paddy's letter to himself stirred a lot of emotions within me as I can identify with the struggle, I've been there. I was in denial for so long about my weight - but I know miracles can happen. They don't happen overnight, or with the flick of magic wand - but they can and do happen when we take control of our own lives.

I don't have a letter to myself from when I started on my weight-loss journey, but I have written a letter to myself which I will publish on this blog in 28 weeks time. It's a promise to myself - a promise that I will never ever be the weight I currently am today. It's a promise to myself that I will be fitter & healthier. I am the only person responsible for the direction my weight loss goes. Yes of course support from loved ones and attending Weight Watchers is helping me massively - but no one is driving me to the door of those WW classes and forcing me to go in. No one is watching everything I put in my mouth and telling me off for any biscuit/takeaway/chocolate I am eating.

My friends and family really are so so great - they are the ones that encourage & motivate me, the ones who listen to me, talk to me & help me - but if I am truly honest with myself, the only person I have to thank for giving me this new lease of life... is myself!

So to answer the question 'Do miracles happen?' - They do, but your make them happen!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Is Jillian Michaels out to kill me?

Thanks to last weeks planning/research session, I have now scheduled two Cross-Training (CT) sessions per week. Last week was Week 1, and my first CT session jotted in for Wednesday evening. The idea behind a CT session is to give your joints and running muscles a break while still working on your cardio. My options on a dark Wednesday evening are pretty limited seen as I don't have a gym membership.

I found a Jillian Michaels '30 Day Shred' DVD my friend had loaned me a few months ago so I figured - 20 minutes working out at Level 1 wouldn't be too bad... WRONG!

As I set my sitting room up (well... pushed the coffee table out of the way) and put on the DVD, I thought this would be easy enough seen as I was healthier and fitter than I have been my entire adult life. Wrong again!

So as the twenty minute routine went along, I was sniggering away to myself as I was so unprepared, instead of using 3lb weights, I was pushing air. The thoughts running through my mind were 'This isn't that bad for all the mouthing my friend was doing about how hard the DVD was'. So the twenty minutes were up before I knew it and I was feeling fine. I went about my business for the rest of the evening and slept like a baby that night.

When my alarm went off the following morning, I could barely get out of bed. My shoulders, my arms, my back all ached. It was the kind of ache you get like a bad toothache - constantly throbbing in the background. I went to work Thursday morning and how I didn't crash the car I'll never know. Even changing gears was tough.

By Saturday the pain had subsided so what did I do... Level 1 of Jillian Michaels again. Why do I do it to myself? Ouch...

The whole experience reminds me of is this Saturday Night Live sketch:

I am totally Donna M!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Week 1 Reviewed - Plan for Week 2

The plan made for Week 1 was as follows:

Here is what I actually did:

As you can see I stuck to the plan as scheduled and got my cross-training, runs and walks in. I decided to mix it up and bit and try hit new routes for my run. On Saturday we hit Ballybrit Racecourse and ran a few laps. Nothing makes you feel like Shergar more than circling a horse track but it was good and I was surprised at the amount of other people running.

Is fitness like pregnant women? You know those weeks when you just see pregnant woman after pregnant woman - everywhere you look, it's like the population is doubling as every woman in Ireland is carrying! I took yesterday (Sunday) off as a Rest Day - Well, I had planned it that way as I knew it was Mothers Day and I would be heading home to see my own Mam. On the 45 minute drive home, I must have passed about 20 cyclists! I have never seen that many cyclists on the road before in my life.

I really must get myself sorted with a bike as I am pretty sure it is something I would love to do at the weekends when it is daylight. A friend (Thanks Michelle) loaned me her bike which is still sitting in the shed thanks to the dark mornings & evenings and my focus on running for the 10k - but now that I am scheduling in Cross-Training, I think it is something I should reconsider.

Also, my run tally for March to date is just over 25k - Thanks to the previous Saturday's 10k run in Kinvara. I'm one week in and 25% of the way towards my March goal - The reward for hitting 100k will be any Easter Egg I want as a treat to myself for my running. I'm already in the selection process American Idol style of eliminating Easter Eggs I don't want :)

Anyway, my plan for this week (Week 2 of March) is as follows:

As you can see, I have added Interval training this week and some 'Easy' runs. The thought of an easy run still makes me laugh but hopefully you know what I mean - they will be runs at an average pace which will still result in me sweating buckets but I won't push myself on time/distance.

Also, as it's Paddy's weekend coming up, I am hitting Dublin after the last Amphibian King Couch-to-5K morning this coming Saturday morning where we will race 5k along the coast road and be timed. I think that will be interesting as I will push myself to get my best 5k time (Currently stands at 30 minutes).

Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Importance of Planning when Training

I've been nose-deep in a number of websites trying to figure out a plan for my running over the next month. I want to increase my overall 10K time (get in under an hour) and I need to start increasing my distance as I have the Half Marathon coming up in May.

From my reading, I think I need a plan. It's the only way I can keep track of everything. My head was in a bit of a muddle reading about interval training, rest days, longer harder runs etc, so I needed a way to visualise it.

Here is a summary of what I have learned:

Avoid Overtraining:

Overtraining is doing too much, too fast, too soon. I don't want to get burned out, not do I want to get injured. state:
You will need to start by keeping careful track of your mileage. Once you've established a record of mileage, you can use the standard 10 percent rule-of-thumb-never increase mileage or intensity by more than 10% per week. What this means is that if you are going to add speed workouts to your weekly program, then a reduction in total distance is necessary.
Take 2 Days Rest Per Week:

I do this anyway, but seen as I am making a plan - I should probably plan in what days I am taking as rest based on my schedule as opposed to just deciding 'today is a rest day' because I'm being lazy or its raining.

Add 2 Days Cross-Training:

Cross Training is something I haven't being doing. It can be anything from cycling to zumba - Just to add more elements to my overall fitness/exercise regime.

Include 'Easy' Runs:

Don't push yourself on every run. By constantly watching the clock or distance covered, I don't think I've ever gone for an easy run. An easy run is a run you know you can cover without caring (too much) about the time you come in at. This is something that I must incorporate.

Add Intervals or Fartlek to increase Speed:

Again, something I hadn't thought about. (link at the bottom) say the following, which again makes sense:
If you run long and slow, your body will become very efficient at running long and slow. For example, if you run a total of 40 miles per week at a constant pace, you will train the energy systems and muscles of your body to do this very well. However, if you never train at a faster pace, the energy systems necessary for that faster pace are left untrained. Studies have found that training aerobically (distance only) will not increase your anaerobic (sprinting) capabilities.
They recommend the following techniques:
Intervals: Interval training or repetitions involves running fast paced laps on a track or a set course repeatedly with short rest periods between each run. For example, a 400-meter lap at a fast-for-you pace, six times with a slow recovery jog or walk between laps. 
Fartlek: This odd word is Swedish for "speed play." Fartlek incorporates bursts of speed within your training run. The emphasis is on variety of terrain and grade of the course, and both duration and intensity of the speed interval. For example, during a two-mile run over hilly grade and open fields, include a half mile jog, then double your speed for three minutes, jog a little more, then run hard for one minute, and repeat in whatever combination of distance and pace you like.
Mix & Match:

Never do two 'difficult' runs back to back - your body needs time to adapt.

So... Adding all that together gives me the following:

I have:

  • 2 x Rest Days 
  • 2 x Cross-Training Sessions
  • 3 x Run Sessions
  • 3 x Walks (more so for the benefit of the dog than me)
Having a plan will help me know what I am doing on each day - it also ensures I take my rest days and I don't do two harder training sessions back-to-back.

I also have a Walk & Run target for the week - in keeping with my March Goal of achieving 100KM by the end of the month (so I can have my Easter Egg guilt-free!). I have only scheduled 15K this week as I ran 10K last Saturday (2nd of March) - this plan will bring me up to 25% of my target so I am happy to have a 'softer' week this week :)

I will post my data on Monday so you can see how closely I ended up sticking to the plan and whether or not it helped having the plan.


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Reading about Running...

I have spent the past few evenings looking up various running sites to look for advice and tips on what I can do next and how I should structure my running. My focus to date has simply been to go for a run and to run further or longer than before. (link at bottom) list the six biggest mistakes of beginner runners as:

1: Doing too much too soon.
2: Ignoring recovery
3: Not wearing proper shoes/equiptment
4: No goals or plans
5: Learning to properly pace
6: No variety in training

Off the bat, I can see I have fallen victim to 5 of the 6 biggest mistakes (Ooops!) so I hope I can address them here.

Doing too much too soon:

Considering I only started running in January, I suppose in one way I have done a lot in a very short period of time. I have pushed myself to run further and faster. I get a real kick from seeing that little red banner I often post on this blog saying 'New Record'.

Ignoring recovery:

As the article says "Many beginners think that the only important part of running is the act of running itself" which I'm afraid *hands up* I believe too. I must make recovery part of every run I go for by either walking or slow jogging for 5 minutes at the end of every run. I learned last month the importance of this when I hurt my hamstring - probably from just coming in home after a run and heading straight for the shower without doing any stretches.

No goals or plan:

While I have had a goal in mind, I have failed to make a plan around my goal. My plan I suppose was always to 'do more' or 'go for a run' but nothing specific.

Learn to properly pace:

As the article explains, pacing is important to prevent the runner from having to slow down/walk. When starting my running, I was used to the stop/startness of it all, running for 90s then walking for 2 minutes. I assume proper pacing is something that comes with experience but it is something I need to work on. Don't burn my candle too quickly and then struggle through to the end.

I know my average pace is around 6 minutes per kilometer as that is what I ran the race in last weekend. Likewise, that is what my 5K pace is too. I'm assuming though these paces should be different. I need to work more on this aspect of my training.

No variety in training:

The variety in my training comes from the time of day it is when I go for a run. If its bright out, I leave my house and go left. If its dark, I leave my house a go right. Street lights guide my run so if it is dark out, the 'furthest' I can run is 5K. The article also outlines how running different courses helps prevent injury as you are experiencing different terrains, hills, slopes and flats.

I also don't vary my runs in terms of different types of runs (e.g. faster shorter runs mixed with longer slower ones). "Mixing pace and distance of runs will add variety to the beginning runners training which in turn help the beginner improve at a much faster race."

I was making this same face reading the mistakes beginner runners make

So... Where does that leave me? I think I need to sit down and make a plan. Make a plan that incorporates all of these mistakes to ensure I don't fall victim to them. All of the advice in the article makes sense having read it - they are just things that I hadn't thought about before.

Stay tuned for my next update (which will hopefully be a post on setting myself goals). Does anyone have any other advice they can offer up? Either way, I think I'm hooked - I want to run harder better faster stronger and the only person standing in my way is myself! :)


Sunday, 3 March 2013

Cross 10K off my Bucket List...

I ran my first 10K yesterday as part of the Rock & Road in Kinvara and was delighted to have shaved 4 minutes off my best 10K - Here are my official results:

Everything in life is such a learning experience and yesterday's race was no different. I have learned the following key lessons in life which I hope I will never forget:
  1. Never drink a pot of tea before a race: As we were in Kinvara and registered with over an hour before the race started, we went in to the Pier Head for some tea to warm ourselves up. I needed to pee which before the race - and while we were in the starting area, I needed to pee again. As I had a few minutes before the race started, I went back to the toilets only to find the feckers in the Pier Head had closed the pub (probably to keep people like me out!). The queue for the portaloo's was too long so I went back and started the race. I thought I was going to piss myself going around the 10K
  2. Never underestimate the kindness of strangers: Sometimes we forget how good natured strangers are. Yesterday was amazing to see the amount of people who sat on the walls of their houses and cheered us on as we passed. There were kids high-five'ing us and cheering us on. My favourite was the older lady wrapped up in her big jacket standing outside her house with a big bowl of haribo jellies. She told me to 'take as many as I needed, I was close to the finish line'.
  3. Never judge: As I made my way around the course I was having my usual 'state of yer wan' type conversations in my head. You know, not in a bad way but in a kind of a judge-y internal way - we all do it. Anyway, I overtook this lady around the 2K mark, I don't know why but I just had my mind set on overtaking her. She had slowed right down and I smiled to myself as I passed her. She didn't cross my mind again until she overtook me at great speed around the 8K mark...
  4. Never underestimate the power of a friendly face: As I came in to the final stretch of the run, there was my Mam and Nana standing on the sidelines cheering me on. This only heightened my already emotional state. It was funny the feelings that rushed over me as I came close to the finish line but seeing my Nana is her little jacket waving me on and my Mum calling my name was really special. They hadn't told me they were coming up to the race. As I turned the corner, I saw my brother-in-law Niall and his wife/my friend Emma with my two little nephews - then I saw my other half cheering me on with some friends of ours Rachel (who's boyf was running too) and Aisling. The gang from work who had already finished the race were cheering me on from the other side of the finish line. People really are great aren't they!
  5. Never underestimate YOURSELF: If you had told me 6 months ago that I would be running a 10K in 61 minutes, I'd have laughed in your face and called you demented! Today I proved myself RIGHT - I knew I could do it. I've unlocked something inside me and given myself something new to work on and towards. That is why I have signed up for the Burren Half Marathon in May... And I KNOW I'll do it.
Below is a pic of me at a friends birthday party last year (left) weighing in at over 19st versus me yesterday after finishing the 10K and weighing in at nearly 4 and a half stone lighter.

What a brillaint experience! I'm proud of myself and look forward to running my next 10K in under an hour... Now, I'm off to find a 10K I can do between now and May to keep me focused!

Friday, 1 March 2013

A February Review & Setting Goals for March

I had set myself the target for February to beat my January score of 90.46km. Considering February is 3 whole days shorter than January, I am delighted to see my final tally for the month... 125.4km! That's a whopping 38% increase on the previous month.

I'm still in shock at the distance I covered... 125.4km is like, from my house in Galway to Charleville! Amazing :) I am a firm believer in setting yourself SMART goals! I read a quote somewhere before which stuck with me: A goal without a plan is just a wish. That has stuck with me the past few months. Instead of just wanting something, you have to realise that it is possible if you have the correct plan in place. Without trying to make you gloss over in the eyes, a SMART goal is any goal that is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-sensitive

Reviewing my goal for February, was it SMART?

  • Specific - Clock more than 90.4km in the month
  • Measurable - Using the Nike Running App, I can record distance covered & time
  • Attainable - Yes - I was required me to run more than the previous month
  • Realistic - As I am getting fitter/faster/stronger, my goal was realistic
  • Time-sensitive - 28 days

Even looking at the stats from the month, I spent just under 19 hours out on the road. My days haven't gotten shorter as a result, nor have I lost out on anything else by spending that time outside hitting the concrete. 19 hours averages out at 40/mins a day - and I know I wasn't out every day. For arguments sake, I'll say I spent 19 days on the road at 1 hour a day. Where did I 'find' that hour to contribute to my overall goal?

I'll tell you where the hours came from! Monday to Friday, I get up at 7.15am. This has always been the case, it's not a new development. But instead of spending 30 minutes on FarmVille before work (true story - please don't judge). I now bring the dog for a walk. I used think I never had any time for exercise but when you really look at how you spend your time, I bet there are one or two things in your life that are time-wasters. FarmVille... Hello like?!

Also seeing that I have burned up 12,709cals has been a massive motivator. Considering a man is allowed approx 2500cals a day, I have given myself a 5 day pass! 5 days worth of food just burned up and gone like that! That's pretty amazing and I'm sure has contributed massively to my continued weight loss. I am now down 61lbs since September (20lbs of which I have lost since I started running in the past two months).

To put that into perspective for myself, I just googled a Large Domino's Texas BBQ pizza (which is my favourite). An entire large pizza is a whopping 2020cals (50 WW Propoints). I have worked off 5 pizzas! Wow! I'm paying back for the past few years of neglect but slowly I'll get there :)

Now... How do I make my goal for March SMARTER than February... Simple... With Evaluation & Reward. Here is my March aim: Clock up 100km by only tracking running activities!

  • Specific - RUN 100km this month
  • Measurable - Using the Nike Running App for runs ONLY
  • Attainable - Of course it is :)
  • Realistic - Considering I am running between 5k & 10k - It is
  • Time-sensitive - 31 days (March)
  • Evaluation - Aim for 25k / week (at my pace = 2 hrs 30 mins commitment a week)
  • Reward - A big f*ck off Easter Egg on March 31st :)