I D.A.R.E. You!

When I was a kid, my friends often dared me to take on a risky or challenging endeavor. “I dare you to climb that tree to the very top!” “I bet you can’t beat me in a race. I dare you to try!” In essence, they were inviting me to push myself beyond what I could achieve at the time. I realize now, many years later, that rather than young cohorts taunting me to action, my own voice invites me to risk, to push beyond the status quo, in an effort to live boldly and, essentially, joyfully. I have realized that I want to take this life and creatively make it into something greater and more beautiful. Training hard towards a goal race is one of the ways to push beyond my current capacity, to enter uncharted (and therefore risky) territory in order to find something new. As you consider your own training and racing, DARE to take some risks.

Despite the arctic temperatures outside, spring is around the corner. And springtime for many of us means more races on the calendar. Many runners I know are targeting everything from 5 to 50k’s this spring, seeking faster race times and new challenges. For some Boulder locals, the Bolder Boulder 10k on Memorial Day is often the highlight of the racing calendar and a fitness gauge from year to year. Whatever your training and racing focus in the next few months, it’s important to know exactly what you want to achieve and how to get there. Consider the following elements as you develop your goals:

D-efine your goal clearly. Be specific. Write down in your training log exactly what you’d like to achieve. For example, “I want to break 50 minutes in the Bolder Boulder 10k this year.” Or, “I’d like to qualify for the Boston marathon by running a sub 3:15.” Focus your goal on elements you can control. Specifically, you can determine how hard you train in order to race at a designated pace. But you cannot control how many fast runners will be in your age group on a specific day. Thus, desiring a top three age group finish, while a worthy endeavor, is not a completely manageable goal.

A-ccountability: Rarely are challenging goals reached alone. Most of us need a support system in place as we strive for excellence. In run training, the friends who are out there at 5:30 on a cold, dark morning, pushing you through a tough workout, are the catalyst to move you toward your own success. Further, engaging a coach who has an informed, objective opinion and who will ask you exactly how your workout unfolded, can be just what is needed to keep you on track. Even if you train alone at times, consider the benefits of joining a club and finding training partners who will help you to “run happy” and to run faster.

R-eaching yet R-ealistic: Your goal should be challenging enough that you’re not completely sure you can achieve it. At the same time, you must be realistic. If you currently run 9:00 minute pace for the Bolder Boulder 10k, then trying to break 50 minutes (8 minute pace) in this year’s race is unrealistic. Consider previous race times as well as your current life situation when determining your goal. For example, ask yourself: “How much time do I have to train? How hard am I willing to work? Do I have any lingering injuries that will hold me back?”

E-xecution Plan: plan exactly how you are going to achieve your challenging goal. Specifically, develop a workout plan which will methodically enable you to become faster. There is nothing quite like a written plan, combined with expertise and accountability, to get you where you want to go.

Life is beautiful and made even richer when we D.A.R.E., with the help of others, to achieve more than we thought possible. Lofty racing goals enable us to strive for excellence as we find within ourselves more strength and resilience than we expected. This then leads to greater confidence and success in other endeavors. Set a challenging racing goal for yourself this spring. I dare you!

[If you’d like to add your thoughts, please scroll down to the bottom of the “blog” page to the “comments” section.]

4 Responses to “I D.A.R.E. You!”

  1. Doug Says:

    Excellent blog! I really enjoyed reading it!

  2. Amber Says:

    I thought this was awesome as well! I completely agree. We need to try to push ourselves beyond our “comfort zone” and then relish in success when we reach these goals. Love it!

  3. JuneJacobsen Says:

    what an inspiring post! i agree that having a support system help spur you further – i have a group of runner friends on facebook and a specific running website that motivate and keep me on my goals. thanks for this blog!

  4. Dale Says:

    Well written. I have been lacking in the accountability area before (and bit really aware of the need for it). I believe this is having a big impact on my training this time. Thanks to my coaches and fellow morning die hards!

Leave a Reply