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To set a challenge for yourself – to say 'I am going to take part in a training program for two months' - gives you a focus, helps you feel good about yourself, and is an opportunity to learn - 'I can learn about myself, and I can learn about others, as we train together!' What I have learned can help you in your quest to become fitter, and have fun doing so! These are skills that everyone needs to learn and use when we want to accomplish something – from Olympic level athletes, to Ray to George, to you and me!

Goals

Learning to set goals for yourself is such an important skill! First, you set the 'big goal' of completing a two-month running program. Second, you want to also have smaller goals, and daily goals – 'what is my goal for this week?' and 'what is my goal for today?' An example could be to join your friends and run/walk two miles. It helps to write down your goals and share them with someone, perhaps a friend who is going to run with you! Remember that sometimes you have to change or adjust your goals – you might surprise yourself and be able to run faster/longer than you thought! You also might not be feeling well one day and need to take a day off. Not to worry, just re-adjust your goal and KEEP GOING!

Focus

This is a key skill for athletes, and you can use it too! You can plan your training for the week, commit to it, and then choose a focus for the day. During a run you can simply, but firmly, focus on your breath - it can help to just focus on breathing in two breaths and breathing out two breaths.

'Managing' your Thinking

Talking to yourself is sometimes a good thing! Saying to yourself, sharing with someone else, or writing it down on paper 'I am committed to do this, it might be hard some days, but I am going to commit for two months!' can tremendously help toward achieving your goal. You know it might not be easy, but if you choose to do this, it is your choice and it is your challenge!

Managing your Emotions

Some days might be hard. You might have had a tough day at school, but what helps is to find something in every run that is awesome - 'look how great the leaves are today on the trail' or ' I love running with my best friend' or 'I can run for 15 minutes now without walking!'

Distractions

Distractions can be negative and not help you in achieving your goal. Distractions can also be positive and help you in achieving your goal. Here we are talking about the positive distractions, the ones that can help you! Sometimes, especially if running is new to you, you might need to distract yourself, particularly when you are getting tired. You can count how many red doors, how many birds, or how many blue cars you see on your run. Running with friends is a good idea too! You can chat as you run, share the toughness, or celebrate together after the run!

Remind yourself

Always remind yourself how much fun this is! Think to yourself how fit you are becoming, how you are loving this challenge, and how you are doing something you were not sure you could do – how cool is that!?