Goals (part 1)

Hello again,

I mentioned goals in my last post; the importance of having something concrete to achieve in order to keep motivation and make you work harder.
Goals and goal setting is a wide topic, goals can be short-term, long-term, process, outcome goals etc. So I thought I’ll probably get back to the topic of goals another time as well but for now, I wanted to share with you something I came across the other week whilst doing my coursework. It’s a type of goal-setting called SMART-system.

Basically, according to some researchers (source) in order to design effective goals the goals should be Specific, Measurable, Action oriented, Realistic and Timed (SMART).
When you think about it it makes sense and they are all pretty self-explanatory. For example, if they are not specific and measurable how would you know you’ve reached them, they should involve action of some sort and be based on the performance, realistic so they are actually achievable and they should have a set date when they need to be accomplished by.

What was most interesting to me was that some people have suggested it to be called SMARTER goal setting because they have added two additional components to the acronym: Elastic and Repeatable. Repeatable, again is quite self-explanatory, the goal behaviour should be repeated so it’s sure that it’s been reached before moving on. Elasticity is the one I found most interesting for myself. It means that the goals shouldn’t just be set to one specific target (e.g. time when talking about running goals) but rather they should be flexible and be set within a window. So let’s say your goal is to run a 4 min/km; then your one-point target would be 4:00 but it would be better to have a target of 3:40-4:20. It’s argued that these goals are better because they will sound more achievable and decrease the risk of self-fulfilling prophecy (another fancy psychology term). Self-fulfilling prophecy is just simply defined as something coming true (positive or negative) because of you believing it will come true. As an example, if you had set yourself a target of 4 minutes and you had an amazing day and could have ran faster than 4 minutes you might end up with the time of 4 min just beacuse that was the goal you set and aimed to achieve. (It’s like one of those where if you go to an interview thinking you won’t get the job you probably won’t). So the point is that it’s good to have the flexiblity to prevent self-limiting mind-set in the case of a good day.

For my running events I’ve almost always set myself very specific goals that have not had any flexibility really and I can see now that they’ve definitely been self-limiting. Last year I set myself a random goal time of 1:39 for a half marathon and I ran exactly that. Few months later I had another half marathon and I picked 1:37 as a goal (just arbitrarily because I like odd numbers more than even numbers :D) and I ran 1:37. I don’t know if I could have run faster because the whole race all I was focusing on was to get 1:37. Again, in a 5k this year I wanted to run sub 22 min. I had been injured and didn’t think I was very fit but thought sub 22 should be doable. As I was running I realised I can do sub 22 and I just hang on to my pace without thinking that maybe I should adjust my goal and aim or a faster time. I finished in 21:06, which later on I was gutted about as I was close to sub 21. Just because I told myself that my goal is sub 22 I almost “gave up” during the run and didn’t push myself after I noticed I can get to sub 22. Now that I’ve read about the elasticity and having window target I will definitely set my next goals accordingly and not to one specific time. You never know if your going to have a good or bad day so there’s no point of limiting yourself by setting such limited goals. My goals have probably come true due to self-fulfilling prophecy before and as tempted as I am to set my next half marathon goal to 1:35, instead it will have to be something in between 1:32-1:35.. Just in case I have that exceptionally good day.

My instagram photo from yesterday related to those good running days here.

I wonder if anyone else has made similar mistakes and limited themselves with these type of goals. Maybe not, maybe it’s just me. But I hope some of you find that useful, and if you don’t run you can relate that type of SMARTER- goal setting to other aspects of life too.

It’s kind of like when eating Ben and Jerrys, you should never limit yourself by thinking you can’t finish the whole tub by yourself…. 🙂

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Enjoy rest of your weekend! Hope you are up to something more exciting than me. I am having a very quiet Saturday night with my boys Ben and Jerry ready for my long run tomorrow.

 

Nos da! xx

Where did it all start

Firstly I would like to wish Happy Mother’s day to my most beautiful, caring, lovely and by far the funniest mum out there!!! Head emadepäeva kallis emme! And to all the mums who celebrate it today, have a nice day!

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And then, I thought I’d share with you the start of my running life.. The actual running now, not the “running away from home”- life as there is no way I could point a finger at one specific time when I decided that I just want to travel and live abroad.

So anyhow, just like every other runner who didn’t start the sport as a kid, I used to hate running. I tried it couple of times when I was a teenager because I thought it was the cool thing to do, or at least so you could say to people that you went jogging. I loved going to the gym and exercise classes there and before that I used to dance a lot but running never appealed to me. It pretty much just happened out of boredom and out of some kind of “searching for a new meaning” for life.. (Okay maybe not quite that deep but you get the point). It was in 2011, I was living in Perth loving life without a worry in the world. At the time I worked at a gym so I got to use that for free but with my working hours I still had plenty of free time and not much going on in my life.. I think I was at the stage where I had been living the dream life in Australia for so long that I started to miss having something to do or accomplish. I actually envied my friends who were in uni at the time and had to stay up all night revising for exams as I missed that feeling of stress (Crazy right!).  At this point I was contemplating about learning a new language and loads of other things just to have something useful to do.. I really felt like I needed a goal. I had too much time in my hands when working as a receptionist as well and quite randomly one day I googled running events in Perth. I found a City to Surf run two months from that day and decided I’ll be running there. It had options ranging from 12k to a marathon I think. I asked some of the personal trainers at the gym whether or not someone who has basically never run could train for a half marathon in two months. The answers were pretty mixed with some thinking it was defnitely doable and others suggesting the 12k to start with. So I decided 12k it is. That day I went for my first proper run where I actually had a goal. I told myself to run from point A to B and back again, which was probably about 4-5k. I didn’t obviously have any fancy GPS watches at the time, I used mapmyrun.com to measure the distance. All I told myself was that I am not allowed to stop, no matter how slow I have to run I have to continuously run the whole way. All the advise that I read now about how to start running as a newbie they always tell you to start with the whole walk-run-walk-thing. I never considered that as an option, I just wanted to be able to run without having to stop and that was the measurement of success for me. So I did it. I went for my first run and jogged that 4-5k in about half an hour. Dear me, I was knackered at the end of it and red as a pig but I made it. And how proud was I. I text my friend(s) about my achievement because for me, that was huuuge. Thinking about it now it seems like such a small thing but I still remember how amazing that first run was and to think how many brilliant ones were to come…

I never ran that city to surf as I ended up leaving Australia before the event. Instead, as I moved to Swansea I searched for running events and when I couldn’t find anything shorter I signed up for a half marathon. So half marathon actually ended up being my first running race, months after the original city to surf 12k run that made me start running. And then, a full marathon followed few months after the half. So guess you could say I started liking my new hobby.

Point of the story? I don’t know if there is one.. if you tried to get something out of it I guess it’s that you have to start from somewhere, have goals and enjoy the little achievements along the way as they might end up being the big ones.

And, even if you hate running now you might end up loving it after you try and stick with it. I definitely didn’t enjoy running at first, I only did it because I felt good afterwards.. the enjoyment of running itself came a long after. So when trying something new, be it anything, give it time!

Very suitable and one of my favourite quotes for you:

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Have a nice Sunday, and enjoy the little things!

 

To begin at the beginning

Hello,

I guess this is the mandatory starting point where I am meant to tell you why I am blogging or a reasoning behind the name of my blog. I will do neither. I can tell you about who I am though, although I guess at this point most of the readers would already know me. But just in case you don’t…
I am Pille, born in Estonia but brought up in Finland and currently living in sunny Wales speaking my “third” language. If my posts don’t always make sense, let’s blame it on English not being my native language (and not on the more likely reason that I just cannot explain myself :D). I love travelling and living in different countries and have been lucky enough to experience living in Spain and Australia (and obviously very lucky to live in Wales). I also love running a whole lot. Therefore, unsurprisingly, my blog will be about running. I will most likely, however, end up writing some random posts along the way about life in a home away from home. Also, I am currently doing my MSc in Sport Psychology which means that one day down the line I will hopefully be a fully qualified sport psychologist, and at that point I can perhaps make my blog more about some useful stuff related to my profession. But for now, the focus will be on running. As you might have guessed from the name, I am always on the run (but not from the law!!) because of my busy life and constant need to move to another place, but also I am happiest when I am physically running. I am in no way an expert on running and my personal best times won’t exactly take your breath away but hopefully some of my running stories and other random posts will keep you entertained.

Reading that now I realised I did end up explaining myself even though I said I wouldn’t. Oh well. Guess now you know.

 

P.S. I just entered the London marathon, Again. Will probably tell you about my story with that race sometime, but for now keep your fingers crossed for me!
Happy reading and running!
xxx