Through a variety of random reasons, I became the captain of my Spring Fitness team. It's eight weeks, and a diverse crew, everyone from marathons and distance cyclists, to people just getting into fitness.
As hard (or maybe easy) as it is to believe, I didn't really start running until roughly this time last year. Actually, I know I started sometime around spring break. The reason why I started it, and why I kept it up, was that I knew that I was signed up to do 13.1 miles out in Spokane, and didn't want to let my friends down, or be physically unable to handle it. After all, most people think of a half-marathon as a major goal. Of course, after I did it, I decided to go big or go home, and signed up for the Missoula marathon, and had the brilliant goal of doing a second marathon, which I highly recommend as motivation.
So, back to the goal at hand, what is a good, and what is a bad, set of goals for eight weeks of fitness?
An easy goal is to up activity by 1,000 step-equivalents per day. This should burn through a grand total of 100 calories, depending on weight. However, I have a real hard time thinking about what 100 calories actually represents. 100 calories represents 2/3 of a can on Cola-Cola, or a quarter of a Big Mac. So, two miles equals one Big Mac. Still, it's amazingly easy to add in more mileage. Park further away, take the long way to the bathroom, rather than the close way, or else take the stairs, rather than those creepy elevators.
Another good goal is to pick an event of suitable impressiveness, and sign up to do it. The upside of signing up for a race is that not only does one acquire another shirt made of magical-moisture wicking material, there's also a very public declaration that one will be able to do whatever physical task is required on that day. I'm not sure that everyone is ready to handle a 30K trail run, but anyone can handle a 5K or 10K.
A bad goal is to lose weight. Why is this a bad goal? First, the easy way to lighten the scale is to simply weigh in early in the morning, before you get a chance to rehydrate after the evening. Second, muscle weights more than fat. As one increases muscle, one actually will gain weight, or hold steady, rather than lose weight. Waistline loss is legitimate, being lighter on a scale is pointless.
I'll talk about some diet advice in the next iteration. I'd recommend finding a good goal to be ready to go when May rolls around, and let your friends know. Backing out of the 13.1 miles is easy when you are the only one who knows it, it becomes a lot harder knowing you'll have to explain why, rather than how interesting it was!