Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Staying on track


People always say things to me like, "oh, you're so good. You always make sure to get your runs in." Well, I don't know if it has anything to do with being good.

For me, it's about staying accountable. I'm taking responsibility for my fitness. I'm committed to staying fit. I've got goals, dammit! And how can I meet my goals if I don't do the work? That race isn't going to run itself! What if I just showed up to a race without training? How far would that get me? To the medical tent?

Oh, wait, I did end up there last year after I ran Chicago. Briefly. My calves cramped up and I couldn't stand up after I crossed the finish line. Oops!


All joking aside, the funny thing about running and fitness is that the only person you have to be accountable to is yourself. Really, no one cares about your run. Sad, but true. And no one is going to do it for you. Well, I guess someone could run the race with your race bib...but that's a different blog post. That would be cheating. Certainly not being accountable.

If you are struggling with accountability, there are some things you can do to stay on track.

Make a commitment to yourself. Have you heard the saying: make yourself the priority? It's not just fluff. Remind yourself of how good you'll feel after completing the run. Maybe not physically, but mentally. That feeling of accomplishment sure beats that feeling of giving up. It's one more step towards meeting whatever goals you have set for yourself.

Set realistic goals. Don't bite off more than you can chew. It's hard to stay on track when you're overwhelmed by a training plan. You don't start out running by training for a marathon. And be realistic about your abilities. Don't set a time goal for your first race. Be content with finishing and even better, finishing strong.


Share your plans. There's nothing better for assuring accountability than by putting your goals and plans out there for the world to see. Yep. I did it, telling everyone about my desire for a sub-4 marathon. How will I do that unless I do the work?

Find a running partner. I run solo, but a lot of people who run with a friend or a group tell me that having a partner keeps them accountable.  If you don't show up to run, you not only let yourself down, but also the person(s) that you've promised to run with. That doesn't feel good now, does it?


Treat running like a job. Oh sure, it's a heck of a lot easier to go to work, knowing that you get a paycheck. But if you think about it, there is a paycheck with running, like improved health and fitness, weight loss, being able to eat all the food, and looking great in your clothes? Oh, and not to mention some bling around your neck when you cross the finish line of a race!

Be stronger than your excuses. If you don't get out for a run, you can't blame anyone but yourself. Bad weather? Nope. No excuse. Too busy? Get up earlier in the morning. If you need more incentive, check out these posts on excuses and no excuses.

I like to reuse good memes....
Make running a priority. Set aside time to get your workouts in. Set your alarm for an earlier rising time. And once it goes off, you may as well get up. Because now you're awake. Even if you don't have time for a long run, just go! You know what they say, any run is better than no run.

Make running a habit. Researchers say that it takes 6 weeks to develop a habit--good or bad. Put your runs on the calendar. Set aside a time to run. For me, I run in the morning, before I have time to think about it. I've been running so long that going for a run is like brushing my teeth or showering. I just do it. And I feel weird when I don't. And kind of gross, too.

How do you stay accountable? I'm linking this post up with DebRuns and Wednesday Word. Check out how the other bloggers stay accountable.


92 comments:

  1. I wish I could show this to one of my coaching clients, who is now planning to walk her half marathon because her training fizzled out a couple of months ago. I questioned her "why" from the get go. IMO she wasn't doing it for herself, but rather for the "you're amazing" comments on FB. You're so right: at the end of the day, no one cares about your run. You have to dig down and do it for you. Sorry I'm venting.

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    1. All those FB comments are nice and all, but bottom line, that isn't going to get it done. So sad that she's not going to do the work, even with a coach! I don't get that!

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  2. Here it's all an internal thing. Which is awesome. And not. All wrapped up in a confusing package :-)

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  3. For me, accountability is all about myself. I think when you try to do it for someone else your heart isn't in it and it won't last. Nice post

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  4. Accountability often goes hand in hand with commitment and planning. If you are committed to your goal and the work required to achieve it, you make the time to do what needs to be done and then you stick to it. Great tips for staying accountable!

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    1. So many people fail to stay on track, and as someone who is really internally motivated, I have trouble understanding that.

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  5. The way I stay accountable is that I truly enjoy running and lifting and I love seeing progress. Those two positives for me trump the negatives- getting up early, etc. Most of the time I DO feel like doing the workout, so luckily when I don't feel like it, I suck it up (sometimes) or push it off until the next day (sometimes). It is nice only being accountable to yourself!

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    1. I always think about how bad I feel when I skip a workout.

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  6. Its so important to set realistic goals. If your goals are unrealistic, then you'll be less likely to be motivated to work towards achieving them. Goals need to challenge you, yet also be attainable.

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  7. The why is so important! I do it because it feels good, and amazing when I'm done. There is no way I could keep up the training if I did it for an external reason. There will always be other things to do.

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    1. Isn't that the truth? Life gets pretty overwhelming. My workouts are a consistent oasis in a crazy life.

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  8. You know this morning I just wanted to stop running a few times because I am so tired of seeing those slower paces. I always manage to keep myself moving though, my goal was a 10K today and I did it, slow or not. I get enough satisfaction just from getting it done I guess, but i admit it waning these days, I need Fall!

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    1. I think the one thing getting me through these hot, humid runs is that I have a goal race in October. It would be pretty easy to quit on running these days! Better days are ahead, my friend!

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  9. I actually really like the idea of treating running like my job. I say to my husband a lot something like "I'm not a professional runner, this is not my job! So why am I taking it so seriously?" But you know what? It's something I'm passionate about and I have big goals. So yes, I need to treat it like my job (seriously, showing up, doing good work) to reach those goals!

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    1. My husband jokes that he's waiting for the money to come in from the blog (and my running). LOL!

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  10. I love this! The points about trating running like a job and making it a priority are so true!

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  11. Ha - the race won't run itself although I do think some people have that mentality. You hit the nail on the head...it's all about being accountable with yourself. If you cheat on that...well, we know how that ends up. Great post.

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    1. There are people who run without training, but they aren't going to have any satisfaction out that, are they?

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  12. Running is definitely a habit for me as well and I don't feel the same when I don't run! I think that having an upcoming race helps me to stay accountable because I am working towards a goal. But even when I am not training I am focusing on building mileage or recovering or getting stronger...I think its important to always have some sort of a goal in mind!

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    1. 100% agree! Having a race to train for really keeps me on track. But even when I'm not training, I'm training to stay in shape. Who wants to start from scratch?

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  13. Great tips! I think making it habit it the hardest part but once you are there, you are golden! You WANT to do it!

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  14. I think one of the reasons I was so drawn to running, is the fact that I am responsible for my own triumphs. Not the price tag of my shoes, not the latest fad or gadget, I do the work I get out of it what I put into it. I make time for me! I am accountable to me! Great post Wendy!

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    1. Thanks, my friend! I think you stay very accountable!

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  15. You have to run or bike because you love it and not for the ribbons. It's just too much work otherwise.

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  16. Great post! Accountable is my middle name! I like the whole process of training and running. You hold your self accountable. you do the work and you see the results. Not sure why it is so hard for other people to understand. :)

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    1. I always wonder that too...why not just stick to it?

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  17. I love your take on accountability & you have lots of great tips.

    Sometimes I do think fitness is my job . . . too bad I don't get paid for it!

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  18. Such great tips! I've been slacking a bit as of late, so I'll be keeping this post in mind to help stay motivated and hold myself accountable!

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    1. Slacking? Or just taking a break? That's ok too...You need to let your body recover.

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  19. I sign up for races and I don't want to suck so that keeps me accountable.

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  20. Great tips - Love the one that says treating running like a job. I primarily strength train, but I feel the same way. My workouts are like important meetings that I schedule with myself :)

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  21. So true! I find having a coach is helping me to stay accountable. She probably doesn't care a whole lot (I mean, she cares, but it won't wreck her day) if I run or not, but knowing she's looking at my results helps me to get out the door on days I don't always want to.

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    1. My coach is the same way. She shares in my triumphs, because she guides me, but whether or not I run is up to me.

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  22. Great tips Wendy! I overall stay consistent with exercise but often fall off my training running plan. Good things for me to keep in mind.

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    1. Sometimes it's hard to keep focused on the goal.

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  23. Other than my daily planner, running with a partner helps me so much. And I didn't realize that until I started running with someone (I used to always want to run alone). Now I find when I can't run with someone, I don't follow through as much or as far as I'd like.

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    1. I don't run with someone when I'm training, but I bet it would be helpful on those long runs!

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  24. Agree with all - especially sharing your plans. When you publicly say "I want to do this" it's a lot harder to say "forget it" when you don't feel like preparing for it. It's like your rep is at stake :)

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  25. It is a very good point that no one cares about your times/running but you (and maybe a coach). So being accountable to ourselves and our goals is really important. Sometimes I find I need different goals to keep me excited!

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  26. Love this ! Agree with everything. People ask me how I manage to exercise 4 days a week.... I just make it a priority. And once you start exercising, you have more energy, you can get up earlier and its all a positive spiral.

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    1. I always like to remind myself of how good it makes me feel!

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  27. I just committed yesterday to a 52 day run/walk streak...which will be my first ever time streaking. Minimum of 2 miles a day. Since I usually run 4-5 days a week, it means adding a 2 mile walk or run in to my 2 days of cross-training and my one day of rest. No one will know but me if I actually do it every day or not, but like you, if I say I'm going to do something, I just will. Being accountable to yourself is really the most important:)

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    1. I've never done a streak. It's always so tempting, but I have those foot issues..and I think if I ran every day, I'd get sick of running. I'll be watching to see how it goes for you!

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  28. Great post. I am all about putting my runs in my planner. I have my mileage for each day that I run highlighted in the upper corner so it's a blatant reminder to get it done that day. Plus, I know I always feel bad if I skip a day, so I'm better off just doing it and feeling great afterwards than talking myself out of it and feeling like crap for skipping it.

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    1. I don't have a planner, but my coach gives me a training plan and I follow it closely. I like crossing off the days! Makes me feel accomplished.

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  29. Running is definately a job. It's penciled on my daily calendar. Not "job" in the sense like it's awful to do, but definately like you said. And, hey.... I thought when you posted your runs on social media everyone cared to see it! :) LOL! Still gonna post my "runfies". Have a great night!!

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    1. Well, I like to think my running friends like to see my runs! :p

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  30. The only person in charge of me is... well, me. So ultimately, that's where my accountability lies.

    There are days when it's hard, and days when it feels impossible, but somehow, it's better to keep pushing than to give up.

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    1. I agree. And that translates over to real life, too.

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  31. I'm struggling to stay on track this summer, but I knew it would be hard going in. I don't like summer training, but I really want to do these September half marathons. If not for that, my summer goals and training would be totally different - much more laid back and easy. Next summer will be back to that because I know myself and I know what works for me. And I think that's a big piece of being able to stay on track. If you've chosen something that doesn't work for you (for whatever reason), you aren't going to stay on track.

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    1. I'm hoping this will be the last marathon that I have to push so hard for. If I meet my goal of sub-4, then I can just rest on my laurels. And run some of those bucket list races I've been wanting to do.

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  32. you are sharing the truth, lady! gotta put in the work to reach the goals! :)

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  33. Awesome tips! Sometimes it really just comes down to habit. When I first started out I was always all about the goals - gotta train for this race, gotta finish this program, etc. And while I of course still have goals and things I want to acconmplish with my training, some days it's just a matter of "nothin' to it but to do it" ;)

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    1. As I sit here drinking coffee and pondering my speedwork ( in the steamy conditions, no less), I need this pep talk too!

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  34. Your tips are very useful and practical. Since i started my getting fit journey when i say i will, i like to stick to it.

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    1. And that resolve crosses over into other parts of our lives!

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  35. Yes!! I love this Wendy! At the end of the day it's all about doing it for yourself. That is what I tell myself every day - especially those hard days when it is tough to get going...
    I also tell myself, when race day comes, I will be so thankful that I put in the work!!

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    1. A great reminder of what I need to tell myself on this hot steamy morning--I've got speed work to do!

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  36. Great post! Yes, you are accountable only to yourself, unless you hire a coach and you are also accountable to them. Running is one of the best things in my life but I do it for me.

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    1. I run for me too. But I'm accountable to my coach!

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  37. lol that puppy picture is so cute. I'm currently dealing with my own excuses in my mind. I need to run 18 miles after work and it is SO hot and humid...idk how I'm gonna do it!

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    1. That's why I go in the morning...altho if you start early, it would be tough to do 18! I did 8 on Monday, and I had to be at work by 8. So I was on the road about 5:15. It was a little creepy...

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  38. Wendy, I just love your posts! Accountability and discipline are key to success in running - and running can teach us how to practice accountability in all other aspects of life. I love your tip on being stronger than your excuses - not every run is going to be awesome or feel good, and some are really going to suck, but what matters is getting them done.

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    1. Back at you. Laura...your blog really resonates with me. Sole sisters...

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  39. Fitness and health are probably the only areas of life where it's OK to be selfish. If the journey isn't for you to be accountable and take responsibility for doing what's necessary then why are you on it?

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    1. You have to take care of yourself to be any good to the people around you, right?

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  40. Great write-up on Accountability. I lack discipline....are you going to write on that soon? One of my biggest complaints since I started this running stuff in January is the overflow of information and what is good for me. This was a good read for me. Let's see if I can put it all together and say "This is half marathon training" TY

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    1. Since I get the word prompts from the linkup, I don't know if she'll do discipline, altho I imagine she will!

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  41. YES!!! Fitness, running, goals, whatever - if you want something you need to be disciplined.

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  42. I usually need a race on my calendar to keep me accountable!!

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  43. These are all good tips Wendy! I blog because it's my way of staying accountable. I'd love to find a running partner, so for I have no takers!

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    1. Oh for sure my blog and my FB page keep me accountable!!!

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  44. Really, these are great tips for accountability for ANYthing, not just fitness! Great post!

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  45. Great tips on becoming more accountable, Wendy! Trainers and coaches can help hold clients accountable, but the bottom line is whether or not the individual is willing to put in the work to get the job done.

    Thanks for linking up!

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  46. I really try hard to get all of my runs in but sometimes I just don't feel like it. And yes I make an excuse and no I do not feel bad about it. I think it is OK and we shouldn't feel bad or made to feel bad about it.

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    1. Oh I agree with that! Except when I'm training for something...

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