Intro: Most fitness plans have the long-term goals of achieving or maintaining a healthy weight and improving or maintaining general fitness. Even with a dedicated workout partner, it is easy to lose focus and slack off without short-term goals as well.
The Plan: Train for an event. Make a commitment to participate in an event that will motivate you to stick to your workout plan. Choose something 1 to 4 months away that you would really like to do and sign up. It could be really ambitious like an ultra-marathon or climbing Kilimanjaro, more modest like the local 10-K fun run or bike rally, altruistic like building a house for Habitat on your vacation, or unusual like going to your annual family reunion Halloween party as Chuck Norris – complete with kickboxing skills.
Mark the date on your calendar. Put a count-down note on the current calendar page.
After the event, find another event to train for.
Last spring, my workout buddy and I trained for a Frisbee dog competition. We finished in the bottom third at our Frisbee competition, which is great for us!
Now we are training for the Tour de Fire Ant bike race (the 10-mile course) in three months. As soon as the race coordinator OK’d a bike with a dog in the trailer our workouts got longer and more intense. The serious racers ride the 100 kilometer race. The 10-mile race is more light-hearted, with most of the riders in costume, but we still want to keep up with all of the people who aren’t hauling a 50-lb trailer. The trailer was a kit from Bike Friday.
Feruary 2012 update: The goal of being in the Tour de Fire Ant kept my workouts on schedule, but I hurt my back a week before the race so we could not go. The dog wore his ant costume for Halloween, though. We will start training for the October 2012 race now that my back is better.