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First-ever Fall Fitness Day held at Success Lake

Is It Time for a Sprint Or Maybe a Fartlek?

We’re coming up on year-end… is it time for a sprint to the finish line?

‘Nobody Beats Us!’ According to our plan, when I said these words toward the end of the race, we would immediately shift into our final sprint, rowing as high and hard as possible, straight through, until we crossed the finish line.

— Brad Alan Lewis
from Assault on Lake Casitas

It’s that time of year when many of us take a bead on how we’ve done on the goals we set for ourselves. And, with the holidays now in full swing, it’s also time to figure out how to take care of those holiday doin’s while we sprint to the finish-line of 2011.  Or perhaps you’re one of the wise and disciplined ones who have been marathoning through your year and now get to lope across the finish line…


It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon


  1. Plan for a long duration instead of a short one.
  2. Pace yourself so that you can last a long time.

Then Again, Maybe a Fartlek?

Of course, you might explain your path towards your goals as something other than a marathon or sprint – something like “cross country”, or “intervals” but I rather like the “fartlek” strategy.


A training technique, used especially among runners, consisting of bursts of intense effort loosely alternating with less strenuous activity.

Or perhaps Kaitlin of One Girl’s Journey best describes your journey through this year of effort:

I stumble, sometimes fall, and sometimes smoothly sail along. I’m learning to enjoy different paces and the different scenery along the way.

But, regardless of how you’ve approached your goals this year, the question remains: How’d you do?

How’d You Do?

Whether you’ve chosen to tackle your goals as if they were a marathon, sprint, interval, fartlek or something else, now is a good time to pause and assess where you are and where you want to be.  And time to start thinking about how you might set your sights on new and wondrous plans for 2012.

Now is not the time to mimic the subject of Leigh Rubin’s  Rubes® cartoon who set her sights a tad high – over the moon in fact:

Night after night, it beckoned her.  ‘Jump over me,’ it seemed to say. …Now all she had to do was simply achieve an escape velocity of 25,000 miles per hour, and then literary immortality would be all hers.

While a moon jump might not be in your plans, you do want to set the bar high.  But before you do, ask the question: How am I doing now? And use care not to be too hard on yourself! Short-lived Gilda Radner of SNL fame understood the reality of being kind to yourself:

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.

So perhaps, instead of “how’d I do?” the question should be: How have I made the best of my 2011 moments and how can I prepare to make the best of 2012’s moments? At the very least those questions channel your answers towards proactive planning.  Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. suggests these questions:

  • What have I accomplished?
  • What new skills have I acquired?
  • What have I learned?
  • What opportunities were gained and lost?
  • How am I better today than I was at the beginning of the year?

I especially like that last one… it’s the one I’ll use for my own 2011 review.

Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.

— Dale Carnegie

We’re coming up on year-end… are you ready for the finish line and a new begin-again?

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