S.M.A.R.T

This year has been relatively successful as far as my fitness goals are concerned.  I have:

  • Set new personal bests for both the 5k and 10k distance
  • Developed my push up and pull up technique to a good standard
  • Started boxing
  • Taken part in the Bury 10k

The first two goals were set at the start of the year with the help of Dane Cunningham, my PT.  I decided to pursue my last two goals in the spur of the moment but both have proved to be successful, although I still have a long way to go before I can say that I can box to a good standard!

I have heard many professional sports coaches say that goals have to be measurable so you may be wondering how I can claim that developing my push up and pull up technique to a good standard can qualify as a goal using the SMART framework.  I will be the first to admit that my recent fitness goals have lacked a clearly definable structure and even a start and end date.  I’ve therefore decided to model my future goals on the SMART Framework.

The SMART Framework

In brief, the SMART framework is a set of criteria in order to make goals which can be achieved and recognised.  Described much better by this post on SMART goal setting the five basic criteria are that the goals must be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Taking my performance at the Bury 10k as an example, my previous best over the 10k distance was 53 minutes and my sole aim for the race was to set a new PB.  I had no specific time in mind.  At one point I even thought that setting a new PB was unlikely due to the steady incline over the second half of the course.  How wrong could I be as I demolished my previous best by over two minutes!  My lack of race specific training didn’t help in this instance; although I had done five training runs on my recent trip to Italy, I didn’t have time to train when I got back.  Reflecting on the race, I can’t help but feel that with a bit more running under my belt I could have achieved a sub-50 minute time on the day.  This experience has led to my first SMART goal:

  1. Achieve a sub-49 minute 10k time before the end of March 2017.

Even before I begin training for a specific 10k in March I can see the benefit of SMART targets as I know exactly what I am aiming to do and when I should achieve that target.  I could even add ‘with a negative split’ whereby I aim to run the second half of the race faster than the first to make the target even narrower and more specific.

I will use the official chip time instead of my Garmin time from the race to avoid any confusion over what finishing time to use, as I did with the Bury 10k.  Although I will probably use a Garmin during the race I will only use this as a guide for pacing myself through to my PB rather than for the recording of the PB itself.

I feel that a sub-49 minute 10k is a realistic prospect given the hilly nature of the Bury 10k.  It is also enough of an improvement to measure progress by.  Although a sub-50 minute 10k might be a more standard target, it would only show an improvement of 54 seconds over the 10k distance which I do not feel would be enough for a 6 month target.

I am under no illusion that I will have to train hard to achieve my goal but that is what a goal should be, difficult but possible.  I’m currently struggling to shake off a cold so there’s little prospect of me training on my days off this week.  Also, as the winter draws in there are less 10k races available close to home before the spring racing season starts again.  I feel that setting a target over a six month time frame gives me the best possible chance of achieving my aim when I take on a 10k in the new year.  It also allows me to build up my mileage which has been lacking in recent months as a result of a sustained focus on the gym.

I will keep updating my blog with my progress towards my first SMART goal.  I will post an announcement on this blog when I have decided which 10k to take on.

Let the challenge commence!

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