Julie Craig, Successive Short-Term Goals, A Positive Mindset, Faster Times
The Cascade Effect: Short-Term Goals and Living With Intention
by Julie Craig (running above and on the left, hiking)
I sat at my computer and typed ‘Masters Running’ into the Amazon website. I was searching for some good books that would help me with my running. I knew many running coaches in my area but none who seemed to know much about how running affected the aging body. I had been told by one coach that you’ll never get faster once you are in your forties. That was not a statement I would accept. In my Amazon search up popped the book Mastering Running by Cathy Utzschneider. It looked interesting. I ordered it, read it, loved it, and then read MOVE! How Women Can Achieve Athletic Goals At Any Age. Now my life and my running are better, much better.
I am 49 years old and am married to a very kind and secure man, Jonathan. We have two great boys, Ian (16) and Alex (13). I have been running seriously for over four years. I have an engineering degree but 17 years ago opted to step away from engineering and do what I loved more – work with horses. I have my own business teaching riding lessons, training horses and, as of 10 years ago, run a non-profit therapeutic riding program. My life is full and I am very fortunate to say I love what I do. Since coaching from Cathy, reading MOVE! and incorporating its principles into my whole life, not just my running, things have become even better. I am setting personal best times. This year I improved my mile time by over 6 seconds (though the season has just started, I am currently ranked #1 for US women in my age group for the mile). My business and especially my therapeutic program are stronger than ever. On December 26, 2015 I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had been voted ‘Woman of the Year’ for my town.
Much of these accomplishments are due to changing my way of thinking and operating based on MOVE! principles and training with Cathy as a running coach.
When I started with her I was frustrated and in a bad place with running. I was training hard and lifting weights three times a week. My body was tired and sore. I just knew I needed something to change and I needed to reframe my goals. Before I met her for the first time, I was discouraged. On a miserably wet and windy day, I had run repeat miles in the morning. They were over 30 seconds slower than my target time.
My first meeting with Cathy lasted a little over an hour. I showed her my running log, racing history and strength training schedule. She asked me questions and we talked about running at great length. The turning point for me was when she told me that I was overtraining. I needed to train smarter and cut back on my strength workouts. I knew that I was going to have to try something new if I wanted to improve, but the thought of ‘cutting back’ was not what I was thinking! Still, I knew in my gut and from reading her books, that Cathy was worth listening to. I decided that day to change what I had been doing.
Since our first meeting my running has really improved. Three days ago I beat my best mile time by 6 seconds, from 5:48 to 5:42! I am absolutely ecstatic! I realize that I, like most people, always had the tools to succeed but needed help using those tools. For example:
- I now set short- and long-term goals. I write down my goals and the steps I will take to accomplish them. This process works.
- Even more important than running faster, is the fact that I am running happier and in less pain. By changing my training and strength workouts, my outlook is now positive and my body doesn’t feel beaten down all the time. I have range times to hit for intervals and no longer do 270 crunches a day (crazy, I know!). I had cut way back on those and do other strength exercises as well. My running varies from day to day in distance and intensity. This keeps me interested and my body fresher.
- I have also started to stretch more and repeat phrases in my head – cue words that Cathy stresses – that help me focus and feel good not just about my running, but my life in general. I am simply in a better place since I started usingMOVE!, and am really excited about what the future holds.
- I also evaluate my goals after I have accomplished them (or not). I learn from my mistakes and improve. My entire outlook is more positive and healthier than before I read MOVE!.
- Aware more than ever of how our thoughts control our actions, I now tell myself almost every morning how I will live each day. I live with intention. I tell myself, for example, that I will be kind and loving to others and to myself. If it is going to be a busy and stressful day I tell myself it will be okay and I will get through it. I can tell myself this honestly because I have planned for it and set my goals to succeed.