Anyway, it starts out with some goal-setting questions, but maddeningly, it's not a fillable PDF form, and I don't feel up to battling my recalcitrant printer at the moment. So I'm bringing the questions here.
1. You figure out WHY you’re going to do this. What would it mean to you? How would your life be better if you were to make this happen? What would you look like and feel like if you were a vegetarian half marathoner? If it motivates you, what would other people think about you? What would happen if you DIDN’T do this?
Um, okay. Running a half marathon would mean I made something happen in my life; I did something; something went according to plan. It would mean I did something I would have thought impossible until very recently. It'd be something to be proud of, something interesting to talk about. It would also be the start of something (and the continuation, I suppose) because I don't think running at this level is something I'll want to stop doing once I get going.
It would make my life better because it's a commitment to doing something productive that's just for me. The whole training program is something productive I'm doing because I want to. I like the structure of, "goal --> process --> accomplishment." It gives me a sense of validation and somehow makes it feel more acceptable to do something just for me. And face it, I need the commitment to stop myself from cutting corners on myself all the time.
The vegetarian aspect? Eh. I mean, I feel like some focus on nutrition and food in general is a really good thing in any training program, and I definitely like this one. But I've been vegetarian before. I've never run a half marathon before.
What happens if I don't do it? Well, I'll be disappointed, possibly heartbroken, and probably spend some time feeling like things never go they way I want them to. But what actually happens is... I don't run a half marathon. Maybe I'm out $65 for the entry fee or maybe I'm pigheaded enough to walk the whole thing, but in the end it doesn't matter that much. I'll still have a little more running experience than I had before, so that's all good.
Mostly, I want to do this to see if I can.
2. You make the decision. Make your outcome crystal clear in your mind and write it down and put it in a place where you’ll be reminded of it daily. You need to become so certain of your decision that it feels inevitable – almost as if you’ve already done it.
Done. There's a spreadsheet called "13.1" on my desktop, where I see it every day. There's a square with a number in it for every training run I hope to accomplish between now and June 17, and I get to color them in as I go. At the bottom is a square that says "13.1" in 40 point bold, to remind me that the race is the big goal, and matters more than the other runs along the way. I'm doing this.
3. You take some sort of action that commits you. There’s no getting around the fact that training for your first half marathon is hard (though I’m going to help you make it as easy as it can be). But it’s much easier to take some action that makes sure you’ll follow through when it gets hard.
By picking up this guide, you’ve already taken some sort of action. Putting up even a little of your own money has tremendous power to motivate some people. But I’d suggest you do even more to commit yourself to following through.
One example of a committing action that’s a favorite of runners is choosing your race and signing up for it before you even begin training. That’s a pretty powerful motivator, but it does involve some financial risk, since injury is sometimes beyond your control. We’ll cover how to choose a race in the next section, in case you want to make that your committing action.
If you don’t want to risk losing your entry fee should you get injured, do something else that commits you. Another good action is writing down your decision on the back of a few business cards and giving them to the people in your life whose respect you value more than anything in the world. Sure, it’d be embarrassing, even painful if you didn’t follow through – and that’s exactly the point. (At least in this case, you could include a clause that gives you more time in the event of an injury.)
A few more ideas: Go get a pair of running shoes to train in, or buy your race-day outfit. Find a partner to train with and commit that you’ll both run this race (if you can get them to go vegetarian with you, more power to you). Check out fundraising opportunities, like Team in Training. If you don’t have a regular running route where you’ll be able to run up to 11 miles, do some research and find one in your area. (If you’re going to run on roads, Gmaps Pedometer is a simple tool for calculating distance. More on this later.)
Get the idea? Do something. Write down what you’re going to do, then do it.
I've picked my race, outlined my training schedule, and told most of my friends and my marathon-running general manager that I'm doing this. I think I'm set.
I haven't registered for the race yet, but I plan to do that next week.
That's it, then. I'm ready to start this guidebook.