Have you ever really wanted to be better at something?To really excel and show what you can do?

As many of you may know, I'm quite a keen runner but have always been quite happy to get out there and just run, without worrying too much about my performance. But since getting a place in the London Marathon this year (a goal of mine for a while), my training has had to change. No longer could I just stick on my running kit and head out of the door when I felt like it; I needed to get serious about this running lark and get a plan of action.

Lesson 1; set your objective, get organised and be flexible. The first thing I did was to get a training plan. I searched online and as you can imagine, found lots of plans. The one I chose was a BUPA 16-week plan which included long runs at the weekend rather than during the week, to fit them in around work as I prefer to run in a morning rather than an evening. I remember counting back from the date of the marathon and seeing that the first run was due to be on New Year’s Day and not being too impressed - so I decided this could move to New Year’s Eve instead, which meant I could see 2013 in knowing my training had started!

Lesson 2; set goals and track performance. When I had my training plan, I needed to be able to measure my performance against it. There’s a wealth of technology out there to help sports performance and I'm sure you'll have seen websites, apps and various types of equipment, some of which cost a small fortune. For me, I decided it was time to swap my basic stopwatch for a Garmin GPS-enabled watch so that I could track how each run went. The watch I have is a simple one but the amount of information it gives me is fantastic - pace while I'm out running, times for each lap when I download the data to the computer and the Garmin Connect site allows me to plan my routes accurately, rather than using a map and a piece of string which I have been known to do in the past!

Here's some information from a recent run - the Silverstone half marathon:

I love looking at this map as it reminds me how great it was to run on the track at Silverstone (especially when they played the F1 music at the start!) and the other stats it gives me really help me to see where I did well and where I could have pushed harder.

So, what has all this got to do with business then? Well, the hours of being out running have given me lots of time to think and the thinking behind my training could equally be applied to any business. Firstly, what's your objective? Mine is to run the London marathon before I'm 40 – (just sneaked in there). Then, you need to formulate a plan to achieve your objective - without a training plan that felt right for me, I wouldn't have a chance of starting a marathon, let along finishing it. Keep measuring your performance against the plan to evaluate where you are - sometimes you might need to change things (I've had to be flexible and move a few runs, even missing a few when I was ill), but never lose sight of your end goal and where you are in terms of achieving it.

And finally, don’t forget to celebrate when you reach your goal – that’s certainly what I’ll be doing when I’ve completed my 26.2 miles. 21st April will be here before I know it and I must admit to feeling a bit scared, as well as excited. So please wish me luck and if you'd like to sponsor me (sorry, couldn't miss the opportunity!), my Just Giving page can be found by clicking here.

 

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