Having fitness goals is great. It gives you something to focus your training around, a reason and motivation to train plus if it’s a step up from where we currently are it will challenge the body also.
I love running but I’m not built to be a fast runner, my body frame is suited to pacing and stamina. Last October I completed my first Marathon, it was fantastic. I loved the endurance needed for the event and continual work on the body for 4 hours. I wanted to find a progression for a 2016 challenge. Sure I could run for longer, of which with training I feel I could, however even I’d admit it would get a little boring! So I’ve been trying to do more off road running. This involves running on different terrains of grass, mud, sand and gravel, all much tougher than the solid terrain under foot of roads. Also these routes tend to be more varied gradient forcing you to have good strength to deal with the uphill sections whilst controlling the down to stay on your feet.
Last Sunday I completed my first trail race and it was brilliant. It was a half marathon so I was only working for half the time however the intensity was much more which is exactly what I was looking for. I was pleased I had built up the strength needed to deal with uphill running through sand which always feels you’re not going anywhere whilst putting in all your effort. Not only did the terrain make it tougher but I really tried to continue an even pace whether it’s uphill or flat, again taking up the intensity.
What this shows is that whatever your fitness goals, whether its strength, running, cycling, swimming etc. you don’t always have to train for longer to become better and improve your fitness levels. You can take up the intensity and find that next challenge.