Moving the goalposts

Or: I did it! Smashing the Small Goals.

                So now what?

Okay, not so much 'smashing'...

Today I managed my 5km loop in 29 minutes and 40 seconds; last weekend I got all the way around my 8km loop without stopping. I am really pleased with myself, because it has taken about 6 weeks, but those small goals I set for myself have been achieved. And achieving something you have been working towards is always a good feeling.

The big question now though is, what next? Having reached the metaphorical goalposts I set for myself, I now need to shift them out further, to keep making goals that will stretch me, but be achievable. At the risk of using too many cliches, I can't rest on my laurels at this point, I need to have a series of goalposts stretching out into the future.

Usually when we talk about shifting the goalposts on something, it is meant in a bad way. That's often is the case too, if it happens when we are partway through something (which is typically when it seems to happen). However, it's not always a bad thing - if we make the choice and do it for ourselves

So, now I need to set my next goals. To a huge extent, they need to follow the same rules as my original small goals did: be measurable, and be achievable. I also think that they should relate to the actual other goals that I have just achieved too.
  • I think I will aim for 6 minute kilometres around my 8km loop as my next speed and cadence goal. This is quite a big jump though, and I do have a 6-6.5 km one that I could try as an interim. What I really have to do is be realistic about it, and realise that if I do make the 8km one my goal, it will take a while. Which is okay. Achievable doesn't mean easy. Right, so that's that one sorted.
  • Now I need to find a 10km loop. Where I lived before, I had a really good one, and it was my standard running loop for fitness maintenance. Now there are two arguments against using that one; I don't live there any more (funnily enough), and I'm not yet so fit I can just blat that out as a standard thing anyway. Neither of my 8km loops has an obvious easy extension that I can add, either.  What both of them do have is extra sections which I reckon to be about 3-4 km, with serious hills in. And the one other loop that I can think of as a possibility, I have no idea how long it might be. So, do I just go out and try each of them and see what happens, or do I sit down with a map or something? I'm thinking this through while I'm writing, and I haven't come up with an answer yet, so feel free to let me know what you think.
As far as the 3 bits of exercise a week goal, I am managing that one too, but I don't think I am going to change and add to it. There are a couple of reasons for that: one relates to the 'don't go nuts' idea, because I don't realistically think that I can fit another thing into a week without pressurising myself; the other is that if I am changing goalposts on myself, I don't have to change all of them, and in fact, I think it would be silly to change all of them. 

The most important thing is that I am going to be challenging myself in a sustainable way. I can take the extensions slowly, I don't have to do them straight away because I have plenty of time. And having something a bit aspirational that I am going to find challenging is a good thing too. 

It looks like I am shifting those goalposts a little further than I anticipated! Okay...

How do you extend yourself when you reach your goals? What goals do you have now? What do you suggest for me?

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