5 steps to run faster, get stronger and be smarter
1. Set SMART goals
It doesn't matter if you want to run faster, lift more weights or be the smartest person in the room. Everything begins with a goal that derives from a burning desire within you. As long as you do not know why you are setting the goal you will easily get distracted by other things which are seemingly more important. Simon Sinek's TED Talk will help you to clearer identify your purpose and why it is relevant to have an overarching positive value concept.
Once you have clarity, which admittedly can be the most challenging part of the process, the next step is to formulate a goal according to the SMART rule. Ideally it is
Examples for goals with room for improvement:
- "I want to get fitter through running"
- "I want to get stronger through body weight training "
- "I want to get smarter by reading"
- "I want to improve from not running to run 5 km without walking by the end of the year"
- "By the end of the year I want to be able to do one pull up with assistance"
- "By the end of the year I want to have read 5 books on project management to improve my work performance"
2. Make a plan
Once you have formulated your goal it is time to break it further down so it can be incorporated in your daily routines. A workout plan or a book list help a lot. There is no need to reinvent the wheel as you can find lists such as "30 books every entrepeneur should read" and a multitude of "how to get strong" or "how to get faster at running" advise via Google. I personally recommend Hal Higdon's site for runners of every fitness level. Crossfit has been on the rise recently and there is tons of information on Crossfit - Forging Elite Fitness which can help you to get stronger. My first experiences are very encouraging.
Remember that a good plan has to fit into your daily routine and the allocated time for self improvement has to be vigorously defended. If you are the type of person who can hardly say no to loved ones or your boss, the best time slots should be before or directly after work (experience shows, that directly has to be taken literally for the after work scenario. Otherwise you will end up munching cookies on the couch.)
3. Track your progress
Keep track of your progress by writing your training results down or print out a book list and ticking off the ones you read. A very efficient and free option for runners is the Nike+ Running App. Apart from occasional problems with the satellite synchronization of the GPS it is easy to use, keeps track of all your runs and even has incorporated training programs. I am collecting my personal running data for 2 years now and experienced a problem only once. It was quickly fixed by a very helpful support team. I haven't found a good app for weight training / body weight training yet. I tried Gym Hero,but was not satisfied. Here I use good old pen & paper to fill out a printed Excel sheet.
4. Know your limits
It is easy to fall into the trap of early enthusiasm and not make it the full way. Be modest and realistic with your goals and check them with family, peers and your doctor. Especially when you already experienced injury or long term illness in your life which could affect your performance. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing early progress just to be followed by injury through carelessness and having to watch from the sideline for a week, a month or even a year. Check your current capabilities and built slowly but steady from there.
5. Be proud
Be proud that you made it to the end of this blog post. That you found this is a great start. Be proud of every milestone you reach in your plan. Share it with your friends, invite them to participate and take part in events. You will find a whole new site to you and gain perspective outsite of work and family which in return will help to perform even better and life a happier life in both surroundings.
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