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Where to Start

by Coach Tim Cary

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From athletes to CEOs, those who want to achieve a certain level of performance or a specific goal must first assess where they are in relation to where they want to be. In other words, to get to where we want to go, we first need to find out where we are. There is no end without a beginning. 

With fall marathon training about to kick off, now is the perfect time to assess our current fitness levels. Such knowledge is the key to informed, realistic goals, and informed, realistic goals are the key to success. 

Getting an objective baseline will help us plot a course toward our goals and ensure that we designate available time and energy optimally towards those goals. If we are utilizing our resources in the wrong way—inefficiently, at a high cost or at high risk—we will likely undermine the long-term prospect of achieving our objectives. 

We're all so wired to strive towards our goal, or to shoot for the finish line, that our laser focus can sometimes be a hindrance. If I want to climb onto the roof of my house, I don't run and jump for it. I need to climb the ladder one step at a time. The same can be said for training. 

For any long-term training strategy to have success, it must be based on a thorough assessment of our needs, priorities, time investment availability, and our bodies’ ability to tolerate the loads they will be asked to handle. Goals must be quantified with measurable benchmarks that account for the variances that can sidetrack even the best-laid plans. But neglecting to locate a starting point for our stair-step goals only sets us up for failure. 

Don't be afraid to get an honest, objective assessment of where you're at. The different assessments Fleet Feet offers can give you the starting point you need to develop your path to success. As C.S. Lewis said, "Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different?" Finding your proper starting point, no matter what your goal, builds the foundation for success. 


Tim CaryTim Cary is Fleet Feet's Assistant Training Manager and coach of the Fleet Feet-sponsored Runnababez Elite team.  Over his more than two decades of coaching, Tim has coached athletes to three national team championships, five national individual championships, two national records, and numerous All-American and All-State honors.  Click here to receive Tim's weekly article via email.

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