June 20, 2014

Jim Silva: Setting a goal helps with focus

Over the past few years fitness and nutrition has become a big part of my life. At the heart of it is running.

A lot of people that I know don’t understand why I run.

And they certainly don’t understand why I run marathons.

One close relative asked me after my last marathon a few weeks ago, after hearing about my struggles: “So are you done with the running thing?”

In short: I am not done. For the foreseeable future – and as long as I am able –I will keep running. Over the past few years, fitness and nutrition have become a big part of my life. At the heart of it is running. I love what running does for me. I enjoy the benefits it has for my mood, my health and my spirit.

I love being healthy. I enjoy being fit. It’s part passion, part obsession.

Yes, people do not always understand my obsession for running. But if you’re going to be obsessive about something, it might as well be about something that is good for you, right?

Two weeks have passed since I completed my third marathon and my body feels completely recovered. After taking four days completely off, I was back to getting my running routine going again. I started out with 3 miles, then added a mile a day until I had built back up to running 7-8 miles a day. Last Sunday I did my first double-digit run since the marathon – 10 miles. It felt good. Tough, but good.

Finishing the marathon is always a little bittersweet.

You are always at your peak fitness right before the marathon. It feels great to be at that level of fitness. You’ve been on a training plan for months, and that gives you great focus. When you’re done with the marathon, you lose a lot of that focus.

Your fitness level naturally drops; you can’t be in peak form all of the time.

So it’s natural to start looking ahead to the next big event.

What will my next big event be? I’m not sure yet. But I know I’ll need to sign up for a race to regain that focus that keeps me going.

Running or working out just to be fit isn’t quite enough for me. I’ve always needed a goal to keep myself going. What that next goal will be is what I’ve begun thinking about.

Do I start planning for another marathon? A half-marathon? Maybe try trail running? An obstacle race? Or even an ultra-marathon?

I guess I have a lot to consider.

For now, my fitness journey continues. I continue to try to improve my eating habits. I’ve been working on adding new foods to my diet, like kale and more varieties of fruits and nuts.

I continue to run – not following any strict plan, but just going by feel. On days when I feel good, I run longer. I also continue to add weight training to my weekly routine. I usually try to lift weights every other day.

And I’m looking at adding some cycling to my workouts. I like that it works my legs without the pounding on my feet and knees. Marathons can do a number on the joints.

So while I don’t have any big events on the horizon, I will continue to work hard to stay fit.

If you’re looking for some focus in your fitness journey, I suggest signing up for an event.

Sometimes the most difficult step in any journey is the first step.

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