Why am I doing this?

You’re at mile 19. Your heart is pounding, legs are throbbing, and the thought crosses your mind, “Why am I doing this?”

It’s 5:30am and you’re already halfway through your trainer ride. The rest of the house is quiet, it’s dark outside, and the thought crosses your mind, “Why am I doing this?”

It’s 5 o’clock on Friday afternoon. Your co-workers are going out for a drink after a long week at work, but you’re on the way to the gym and the thought crosses your mind, “Why am I doing this?”

Why are you doing this? Do you have a good answer? Inevitably, most – if not all – of us have reached or will reach a point in our training or during a race when we raise the question. It helps to have a good answer.

Start thinking about what your answer is. Why are you doing this? Why is finishing this race important to you? What does it mean to you to set a new PR, place in your age group, qualify for nations/Kona/Boston? Start thinking about it now. I encourage all of the athletes I work with to set goals for themselves because it helps them stay focused during training and it provides an answer to the inevitable question, “Why am I doing this?”

That’s right, goals with an ‘s.’ Multiple goals. And only one can be time related. Try to come up with three goals that you hope to accomplish this year. Make them genuine and make them important to you. Maybe you want to improve your nutrition plan, learn more about training with a heart rate monitor, explore new running trails. Whatever they are, make them important to you. After you come up with each goal, think of three specific things that you can do to reach that goal. The more specific you can be the better.

Now that you have your goals, get to work on achieving them! As you go through training, check in on your progress. Make sure you are doing what it takes to meet each goal. Good luck!