Stretching (Goals) Before My First Duathlon
This weekend I achieved my goal of completing a duathlon that included a two mile run, 13 mile bike ride, and another two mile run. I had trained for over two months for this event and knew it would require some pretty big adjustments to my normal schedule to fit it all in. I got up extra early nearly every morning to run, bike or lift weights. I also remember imagining how far I could push myself and where I might place among the other participants even though simply finishing was my original goal.
I know that completing a duathlon may not be on everyone’s bucket list. Fitness happens to be something that I’m very passionate about as is working with businesses to develop and achieve their own strategic stretch goals. In my 20-plus years as a marketing executive, I have witnessed first-hand that setting specific time-bound growth goals and mapping out strategic marketing plans to achieve them is critical to a successful outcome.
After reflecting on my own personal achievement, here are a few takeaways:
- Achieving goals is more attainable when you don’t go it alone and certainly more fun. I had the tremendous support of my family and friends as I pushed forward on my training. My husband worked around my early morning workouts and took on more kid duties. My personal trainer with whom I’ve worked out for years really encouraged me and helped me set out some very specific mini-goals.
- Tools are an important way to track and measure progress. I was able to leverage a prototype product of one of my clients who has developed a breakthrough sensor technology that continuously tracks fitness biometrics like heart rate in an audio headset. I ditched the uncomfortable chest strap! Sorry for the shameless plug for Valencell and PerformTek™, their new sensor technology. Look for it on the shelves during the holiday season. It’s great when work and life align!
- Hitting an obstacle is inevitable. It happens to everyone; give yourself a break. I pulled a hamstring just three weeks before the race. Instead of giving up, I was able to take a little break and press on. You just need to know that when obstacles arise, it’s time to dig deep and draw from your passion. Also, focus on the daily accomplishments and trust the process. By taking things day-to-day and consistently moving in the right direction, you avoid getting burned out physically and emotionally.
- Setting realistic but challenging goals is key. I am a huge proponent of stretch goals, pushing myself and others farther than we think we can go. I am also realistic. Goals have to be in line with one’s capabilities and potential, both personally and in the marketplace. It makes no sense to declare expected results for an unrealistic timeframe. Counting on miracles is not a component of the process. I happened to finish 9th among 24 participants in my age group. Not too shabby for my first attempt! Next time, I’ll aim for first.
So take that leap and set aside the time to really outline what success means to you either personally or professionally. Then line out a plan with timebound mini-steps to help you get there. Whether it’s finishing your first duathalon with your kids cheering you on or blowing away your revenue or profit objectives for the quarter….it all begins with having that initial goal and envisioning the finish line.