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The 5 Key Ingredients to Achieving Your Goals

By Lindsey Dziedziula , 02/10/17, 10:30AM EST

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Preparation is just as important as the physical training.

Recently, my friend was seeking advice from me about whether or not she could complete a marathon in December. We talked about what measures she should take to achieve her goal, such as finding the right training plan. In addition to training plans, we discussed five key ingredients that can be critical to success:

1. Listen to your body

Your body is a marvelous thing. Symptoms observed in one area can hint at a problem in another. For example, dry lips are a sign of dehydration. We need to listen to what our bodies are telling us and trust them. It would be awful to ignore a pain and make an injury worse.

2. Push yourself, but not too hard

Whether you’re training for a 5K, 10K, half marathon or full; increasing mileage or pushing a faster pace too soon can potentially do more harm than good. All too often, we feel the pressure and end up failing at our goals. Create a training plan that allows you to reach your goal without overdoing it.

3. Don’t feel guilty about taking a necessary break

Once you’ve fallen in love with running, there’s almost nothing else you’d rather be doing. Unfortunately, illness and injury can attempt to keep us from our love. When I’ve gotten so sick that running was impossible, I inevitably felt guilty because I missed workouts. However, I’m working on allowing myself this necessary break, and I encourage you to do the same. Let your body fully recover, and it will thank you. Don’t feel guilty about missing a run…or two…or three. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

4. Don’t compare yourself to others

It doesn’t matter if you’re an accomplished runner or a newbie, there will always be someone outpacing you, putting in more miles or competing more often. You cannot expect to accomplish your goals if you’re only focused on what others are doing better than you. Let their stats motivate you, and then go out and work on your own.

5. Make sure you’re still having fun!

All too often, we get so focused on a goal that we forget to have fun and enjoy this wonderful sport. If you find yourself dreading your run that much or beating yourself up, I recommend changing it up. Swim, cycle or flat out take a break. Relationships should be enjoyable, and the one we have with running is no different.

These “ingredients” help to train us emotionally and mentally. That preparation is just as important as the physical training our bodies need to reach our goals.

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