Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Target180 - my new personal challenge

Having turned over most of the bad habits of the last few months and reset myself pretty well I started to look at goals / challenges. I wanted something to hang my efforts, on a little phrase (a mantra if you like those sorts of things), a short memory aid, something to keep in mind during a long run or tough session. I mulled over all sorts of stuff numbers came up quite a lot, goal times, numbers of events run, that sort of thing.

Eventually, I settled on 180 - the 'logic' being I should be able to turn around my running form in about 6 months (a sensibly long time I reasoned), and at the end get a personal best in some event or distance or another. Probably targeting the autumn Cardiff Half marathon, though not definitively as I'm leaving it open so that the chosen event doesn't consume all of my thinking - I want this to be about process and all around signs of improvement. So, 6 months is sort of 180 days taking 30 days in a month... then the number resonated and caught my imagination - 180 degrees, an about turn, a complete change of direction. An about face on the slide in fitness, activity, and body weight since the New Year.

So to set some benchmarks and give a feeling of the scale of this process and progress towards my Target180...

  • I just ran my slowest half-marathon, 2:13:44 (Cardiff World Championships half-marathon, 26th March)
  • This weekend just gone I ran my third slowest timed 5K, 28.08 (Cardiff parkrun, 23rd April)
  • I was at my heaviest in over 5 years, at 15st 9lbs (99.3kg), on the 13th of April
The early signs are good, I've dropped 8lbs, my trousers which were getting uncomfortably tight are fitting better, my running feels less of an effort than it has for weeks, and I am generally finding lots of small ways to increase my movement. Motivation at the moment is very high and a little like the early progress needs some careful looking after. In fact the biggest challenge in any journey like this is to manage your expectations and cultivate your patience. It is far to easy to rush at the target and forget that there is a timeframe. Despite immediate look of all those before and after pictures that flood the health and wellness social media (and mainstream media) there are always large gaps in time hidden between the two photo - unless they are faked of course, as many reportedly are.

My Target180 is a journey and it has started, it didn't have a hard start date and won't have a hard finish date, after roughly 6 months the aim is to have made that turnaround and be travelling towards better fitness.

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