It’s Time To Be A Goal Setter

This morning I had coffee with Neil Cook, a running and triathlon coach at Asphalt Green in NYC. I wanted to pick his brain about Boston—he’s run it in the past and has coached several athletes to victory there. I also wanted him to tell me that I could finish in my original goal of 3:45. Instead, I came away with a caffeine buzz, a Starbuck’s napkin full of notes, and a head swimming with numbers. It’s time for me to smell the vanilla latte and be a lot more realistic.

I’ve had a few setbacks during training this season—the flu, shin splints, crazy winter storms—but I’m not going to make excuses. I haven’t put in the mileage or the effort to hope for such a speedy finishing time. Coach Neil wants me to create three new goals for myself: 1. The one I can hit only if the marathon gods are smiling upon me (perfect weather, my legs feel incredible, complete mental focus); 2. The time my current level of fitness and training predicts; and, 3. An at-all-costs number that I’m guaranteed to reach. Which means I’m looking at: 3:55, 4:06, and just plain finishing.

If I were the type of person who set the bar low, I could be happily surprised by how well things turn out when the outcome is better than anticipated. But I’m not; my expectations have always been too high—for racing and everything else in life. It’s going to be tough to accept something as practical as 4 hours. Still, it’s what I need to do.

Countdown To The Boston Marathon: 19 Days!

Do you set realistic goals for yourself? Or do you aim too high or low?

Originally posted in Running With It on Shape.com.

Are You Addicted To Pain, Too?

I did a speed workout this morning. Even though I was holding back, taking it easy because my body still isn’t completely better (stupid cough!), I could tell it was one of those sessions that I’m going to feel later today. And the thought of my muscles aching made me smile.

The health community refers to it as delayed onset muscle soreness, and it can creep up anywhere between 4 and 48 hours after a tough run. “It’s a sign that your muscles are adapting to the strain you’re putting them under—they’re getting stronger,” says Carol L. Otis, M.D., a sports medicine doctor in Portland, OR. Don’t let mild discomfort keep you from knocking out the rest of your workouts this week, she says. “The key is to manage the pain with ice, stretching, or ibuprofen.” Bigger, stronger, faster? Yes, please!

I know it sounds strange, but I like the pain. It makes me feel, um, alive, as though I’ve done something really tough and now I get to experience the after effects. Still, when my body is super sore I’ll hit up the good doc’s pain relief remedies. I also like to rub Ole Henriksen Muscle Comfort Lotion on my legs. It’s loaded with peppermint essential oil which leaves your skin feeling tingly and cool—kind of like the sensation you get after sitting in an ice bath.

Countdown To The Boston Marathon: 20 Days!

Do you like feeling sore after a good workout, too?

Originally posted in Running With It on Shape.com.