Train, Transform, Transcend...

Train, Transform, Transcend...

Goals for 2015

by T3 Running - Michael Barnes on 12/31/14

After speaking with a friend recently about upcoming New Year’s resolutions, it came to mind that the term, “resolution” has a tradition rich in cynicism and negativity.  We all make these broad resolutions (i.e. get control of finances, get in shape, work on my marriage).  Those that we tell seemingly roll their eyes as quickly as the words roll off our tongues.  “I’ve heard that one before”, they mumble softly to themselves.

It’s estimated that over half of Americans will make some sort of resolution this year, but only 8% will actually keep those resolutions.  By definition, resolution is the firm determination to do something.  This year, I vowed not to use the word resolution, but rather goal.  Goal, by definition is an observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe.  I am not a marriage counselor, financial advisor, or parenting expert; however, some of the principles below may help in these areas.  My goal setting guidelines for running are listed below.  Again, they probably also apply to other aspects of your life and goal setting. 

Reduce the number of goals that you set.  Research has shown that if you rattle off 10-12 goals that in a short amount of time, you cannot keep up with them and one by one they fall by the wayside.  Instead, focus on a handful of goals that you can repeat almost from memory.  I came across some information that may help in the area of goal setting.

1.     Use the acronym “SMART.” 

Specific—your goals must identify exactly what you want to accomplish.


Bad: “Begin a running program.”


Good: "Run the St. Jude marathon in 2015."


Measurable—Make your goal measurable.  You will want to know if you meet your goal.


Bad: “Be the best cross country runner I can be.”


Good: “Run under 17:00 for a 5k.”


Actionable—every goal should start with an action verb (e.g., “quit,” “run,” “finish,” “eliminate,” etc.) rather than a to-be verb (e.g., “am,” “be,” “have,” etc.)


Bad: "Be more consistent in my running."


Good: "Run 5 times a week."


Realistic—Your goals must be within the realm of possibility.  A good goal should stretch you, but you have to add a dose of common sense.


Bad: "Win the Boston marathon."


Good: "Set a Personal Record (PR) in the Boston marathon."


Time-bound—Your goals need an end date associated with them.  By what date do you plan to reach your goal.


Bad: "Participate in an Ironman triathlon."


Good: "Become an Ironman by December 31, 2015."


2. Write down your goals.  This is a very important aspect to the process of goal setting.  When you write something down, in a sense, you are stating your intention and setting things in motion.

3. Review them frequently.  With our goals clearly defined and written down, there becomes a need to review them on a regular basis.  If your goal was to run a sub 3 marathon, are you taking the steps to reach that goal by the date that you set?  Review your goals daily, weekly, or monthly.  Years ago, when I set a goal to run a sub 3 marathon, I set the alarm on my watch every day to 2:59 p.m.  Use this as a source of inspiration.

4.    Share your goals selectively.   This is the tricky part.  You would think that by sharing your goals with others, you have a sense of accountability with those that you have shared.  Most people that we tell our goals to will forget them as soon as we tell them about them.  Sometimes, sharing our goals with many gives us a sense of accomplishment already and the likelihood of reaching that goal diminishes.  Again, for others, telling a select few and allowing them the opportunity to keep you accountable works.  Tell a training partner your goals and allow them the opportunity to help you reach that goal.  I would warn about sharing your goal with anyone who it not committed to helping you achieve them (i.e. unsupportive spouse, rival, etc.).

Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation.  Once you have clearly defined your goals, make a plan to reach them.  Consult a coach or friend to assist with the plan.  As with anything we set out to do, some goals are going to be met, some are not, and that is fine.   We don’t always reach our goals.  As they say, “Aim high!”  Fear of failure is one of the greatest fears people have when personal goal setting.  Fear of failure is closely related to fear of criticism and fear of rejection.  Successful people overcome their fear of failure.  Fear incapacitates unsuccessful people.  The Law of Feedback states: there is no failure; there is only feedback.  Successful people look at mistakes as outcomes or results, not as failure.  Unsuccessful people look at mistakes as permanent and personal.   Set a goal and reach it!  Train, transform, transcend.


Coach Mike




Disappointing Result

by T3 Running - Michael Barnes on 12/09/14

Many runners in the Memphis area ran the St. Jude marathon or half marathon last Saturday (12/6).  I've spoken to many friends who participated in both - some happy, some not.  Dealing with success is easy; however, dealing with the disappointment of an outcome that wasn't expected isn't so easy.  This post is for those whose expectations weren't met.

Do I have the answers?  I probably don't.  I struggled with my own disappointments in running for many years.  It seemed that I had the shorter distances down.  I'd set a goal for distances from the 5k to half marathon and always seemed to hit those target times.  The marathon, for me and many others, is a completely different beast.  Yes, a beast!  The disappointment in not hitting a goal time for the marathon is especially difficult as it demands a great deal of training, time, planning, sacrifice, etc.  The months leading up to the big event may have gone great, but the end result not so great.  Like many, you ask, "Why?"  I hydrated, I took in calories, I ran more than ever.  I did tempo runs. I cut out junk food.  That is the allure of the marathon.  You think you've figured it out, but you find out late in the game that you didn't.  So many factors (i.e. weather, fueling, mental toughness, taper, over training, etc.) can be the difference in success and disappointment on race day.  For 12 to 16 weeks prior to the event, everything was great, only to be spoiled by a sniper that seems to have shot you in the calf muscle at mile 21.  Moments later, another sniper targets the other leg, leaving you to hobble in.  The dreaded walk of shame, the marathon shuffle, the meltdown.  I've been there and done that more times than I can count.  I was confused.  I was mad.  I was disappointed.  I, too, have said, "Never again!  I paid to do this!  Why do I torment myself!  I'm retiring from the marathon!"  

A few weeks go by and I usually forget the disappointment and make plans for a "comeback."  I'm too stubborn to have allowed the marathon to beat me.  Perhaps one of the best runners in U.S. history, Frank Shorter, once said, "You have to forget your last marathon before you try another.  Your mind can't know what's coming."  It is painful and difficult to deal with.  Did you barely miss getting your Boston qualifying time?  Did you just miss breaking that elusive four hour barrier or three hour barrier?  I have, but I came back, more determined than ever to "beat" the marathon.  Eventually, you will get it right and it will be better than you've imagined.  

But why am I disappointed with my time?  Like I've said, I had countless pity parties following the running of the St. Jude marathon.  Far too many times, I've left Autozone Park, by my standards, a failure, humiliated by missing my goal time by five or more minutes.  We typically get disappointed when our expectations aren't met.  Disappointment=Expectations/Reality.  Are you being realistic in setting your goal time?  Is your training catered to your weaknesses?  If you don't keep a detailed running log, I encourage you to begin utilizing one.  A running log allows you to go back and review what you did before your "disappointment."  Have someone else review your running log.  Sometimes an objective set of eyes can see things that you cannot.  Don't be afraid to change things up if your current methods aren't working.  There are a lot of races to be run.  Train, transform, transcend...           

Site Map