Tag Archives: goal setting

Monday Morning Motivation: Colin McCourt and goal-setting

29 Jan Colin McCourt in his prime and in early 2017

So we’re nearly a month into 2018 and many people who subscribe to the ‘New year, new you!’ philosophy, but simply wish for change aren’t making it happen.

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? How are they going? Did you plan ahead and have a clear goal? Depending on your long-term goal, you may need to break it into a series of short-term goals to make it achievable. You should also make your goals SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achieveable
  • Realistic
  • Time-based

A great example of someone who set a SMART goal and followed it through in 2017 is the former GB 1500m international runner Colin McCourt.

McCourt had retired after failing to make the London Olympics in 2012. In the intervening period, he put on weight, rising to almost 15 stone (210lbs/95kg).

After seeing an old photo of himself in his international vest, he couldn’t believe how much he had changed. It prompted discussion with some of his old running buddies and he took a bet in 2017 that he could run under 16 minutes for 5k within a year. The forfeit would be to tattoo the names of his 17 friends who laid the bet on his body. Or if he accomplished the feat he would collect a tidy £100 from each. This was no easy feat. His last recorded run had been a 24 minute parkrun in early 2016.

With the added pressure of his journey being documented through social media and an on-line blog, there was no escape. Yet, on Saturday 18 November, Colin McCourt did it. He clocked 15:38 at a race in Burnley to bring a happy ending to the tale.

After reaching his goal, he told Athletics Weekly: “In eight months I’ve gone from a 24-minute 5km runner to a 15:38 5km runner. It has been a mental year. It just shows that if you can just run and do little sessions and tempos, you can take it to the next level if you want to. It’s just believing in yourself and doing it.”

Colin McCourt

McCourt’s next challenge is to try to break 2:30 for the marathon – follow his progress on Instagram.



To read more, visit:

Revisiting my goals for 2015

17 Dec

At the end of December 2014, I set out my goals for 2015, so I thought it was time for me to revisit them.

Goal 1:


I am going to eat healthy food for 20/21 meals and assess my progress at the end of 100 days (14th April). I hope that I will lose 14lbs (6.5kg) in that time. I will record my progress on Give It 100.

I didn’t manage to achieve this goal. GiveIt100 has now closed – not that that affected my progress. I did work hard at eating healthily, but I think that this will always be a struggle for me. I have changed my goal from weightloss to fatloss this year, and had some success. When I was focused, I lost 9% body fat in as many weeks!

Goal 2:


I am going to work hard on my speed between now and 26th April by attending Thursday night track sessions. I will also run on Monday evenings. My aim is to complete Southampton HM in under 1:55, with under 1:52:19 as my ultimate goal, as that would be a PB/PR.

I did attend regular track sessions with Southampton Tri Club. I really love track running and think that it’s good to incorporate speed work into your training, even if you’re training for long distance events. I also ran on most Monday evenings until April. Unfortunately, I wasn’t well when I toed the line, and had also not managed to train for three weeks before the race as I was cycling across Japan, so I was delighted to finish in 1:55:14. Not quite on my goal, but I think that’s close enough.

Goal 3:

Ironman Dublin logo

I want to achieve a PB/PR at Ironman Dublin 70.3 on 9th August. I completed Weymouth Half in 7:24. I think that a time of under 7 hours is possible if I work hard on all three disciplines. I will train for 14 weeks from 3rd May.

I smashed this goal! I finished in 6:45:38, taking over 40 minutes off my previous half iron PB!

Goal 4:


I want to complete the Scilly Swim Challenge on 5th September. To do this, I will need to go open water swimming at least once a week between June and September. I will speak to my coach about how to train for an endurance swimming event such as this.

I was fished out of one leg (where most swimmers were ‘rescued’), but I did the rest of it, so that counts as a success 🙂

I’ve been a bit down on myself recently, but looking back, I can see that I did really well with some tough goals. Also, although I’ve always run a lot of races, but this year has been crazy:

  • 14 x 5ks
  • 3 x 10k
  • 2 x 10 miles
  • 3 x half marathons
  • 5 x sportives
  • 1 x duathlon
  • 2 x aquathlon
  • 2 x sprint tri
  • 2 x Olympic triathlon
  • 2 x 3km swim
  • 1 x 3.8km swim
  • 1 x 5km swim
  • 1 x paired 12 hour relay
  • 1 x team 24 hour relay
  • 17.5km swim.
  • 3 weeks cycling across Japan
  • 4 days leading a charity bike ride 400 miles from the Lake District to London.

A positive was that I won my Tri Club’s Merit Table, where points are scored by completing events, but a serious downside has been getting motivation to get back out there and train. Next year, I’m going to be more selective about the races I do!!!

How did you do this year? What are your goals for 2016?

Please, please, please could you vote for me in the Bloggers’ Lounge Awards – Health and Fitness Blogger of the Year. It should be just two clicks! Thank you 🙂

Bloggers' Lounge Awards

Bloggers’ Lounge Awards

How do you deal with the off-season slump?

30 Nov

I’ll be honest that I’ve been in a bit of a slump recently. I spent the first half of the year building up to Ironman Dublin 70.3 in August and the Scilly Swim Challenge in September and those events were immediately followed by the Tour de Y. I then realised that I was at the top of my tri club’s merit table (a competition where you get points based on the number of events you do and their distance), so I did loads of other events. Then I moved house and went on holiday and then I came home and back to reality.

Unfortunately, the reality was that I felt totally burned out.

This has had a lot of knock on consequences:

  • My training schedule has changed (planned group classes have been cancelled) and instead of dealing with it, I’ve panicked and done no training
  • The lack of training means I have felt too embarrassed about it to come back to my blog
  • This has made me feel slightly depressed, which has made me make unwise food choices

With the sum total of all of this being that my motivation has slumped.

However, I’m not a quitter and I know that my feelings are not unique. At the end of a season or training block, many athletes will be feeling the effects of both mental and physical fatigue. So, what am I going to do about it and what could you do in the same situation?

I’m going to draw on the three Ps: plan, positivity and people.


  • Focus on what you can control

I am going to go back to my training schedule and see how it can be tweaked. It’s better to do something, even if it’s not what I originally planned to do. I am also going to eat well and sleep well.

  • Keep long-term goals visible

The house move means that I now have an entire room (*a very small one) for training in. I’ve put up my medals and trophies as well as a couple of motivational pictures, but haven’t managed to get up my race number yet. I’m also hoping to put up a motivation board that will remind me of my long-term goal of completing an Ironman.

  • Set short-term goals

I’m going to work on some very short-term goals that I know I can achieve, such as attending all of my planned training sessions for a fortnight. Hopefully that will be enough to kickstart my training mojo.



  • Consider the progress you’ve made

Although I’m feeling a bit down right now, when I consider what I’ve achieved this year I realise that I should be feeling proud. I achieved various running PBs this year, including a 5k PB and my first ever race win (Brutal 10); I cycled my first century and swam over 15km in one day, as well as getting PBs at most triathlon distances.

  • There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.

Although the weather seems a little bleak, that’s not an excuse for not training. When my turbo room is ready, I’ll be able to cycle indoors every day. I’ll also consider treating myself to new seasonal kit.



  • Find friends who are pursuing the same goals as you.

I have a 10 mile race coming up in a couple of weeks, so I’m going to ask around to find out whether any of my friends are going to be doing this race and whether they want to get in a couple of training runs with me.

I am also going to go out cycling with a friend who has not done much cycling before. This will be an opportunity for me to share some of my experience without feeling that I have to push myself.

Have you experienced an off-season slump? How did you deal with it?


Although I’ve not been training as much as I should recently, I have managed to fit in some training. Last Monday, I managed to drag myself back to STC swimming. I think I’m swimming quite well at the moment, but the tightness in my shoulders in hindering my progress, so that’s something I need to work on this winter.

On Saturday, I went to Eastleigh parkrun for the first time in a very long time. Eastleigh parkrun is where I first started running, back in August 2010. It was my friend Teri’s 100th parkrun, so she wanted to go back to where she first started running as well. The course was very muddy, but it was great fun and I enjoyed having a social run with no pressure to run fast.

Teri's 100th parkrun

Teri’s 100th parkrun

Southampton Tri Club’s Awards night was on Saturday evening. It was really nice to be able to socialise with the people I train with, although it was strange to see people wearing smart clothes instead of lycra! My husband, Stu, was awarded a silver salver for coming 3rd in the Tri Club Merit Table and I received one for finishing top of the table 😀

Tri Club silver salver

Winner of the Tri Club Merit Table!

On Sunday I did a huge amount of gardening, which has to count as a work out and then when it got dark, I did a bit of DIY, including putting up some medla racks and a shelf for Stu and I. The top row are Stu’s and the botto row are my medals – left = running; centre = triathlon and right = duathlons, cycling and swimming. I’ve included both photos, so that you can see my favourite print… if you want one, you’ll need to track down Katherine Anteny from Red Hot Press.

IMG_6552 IMG_6554

This evening, I managed to get myself back in the pool again, but I think I’ve worked out why my swimming isn’t improving – my shoulders are so tight and inflexible that I can’t change my technique. I’d love to hear of any exercises I could do to improve my range of movement.

Finally… I’d love your vote in the Bloggers’ Lounge Health and Fitness category: http://bloggers-lounge.co.uk/bloggers-of-the-year/blogger-of-the-year-2015-voting/ You don’t need to sign up, so it just takes two clicks. Thank you 🙂


Monday Morning Motivation – Do you have a motivation page?

11 Aug

Do you use any tips or tricks to help keep your motivation going? Maybe you have a motivation wall, or perhaps a medal display to remind you of your achievements? Some people create montages that help them to visualise where they want to be in the future. This motivation page is a template to help you set out your goals.

This Page Will Motivate You To Take Action!

Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
If you’ve shared your motivation online, please post a link as I’d love to see what helps to keep you on your journey.

Monday Morning Motivation – Planning and goal-setting

9 Jun

We’ve all heard of SMART goals (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time-based), but how many of you think about the language you use on your to-do lists?

How To Use Words To Generate Motivation

Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

the importance of goals & when to give up!

Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
Which verbs are going to feature in your plans for this week?

Swimming fail

22 Mar

‘So how did you get on in your 400m time trial?’, I can hear you asking. Sadly, the answer is that I failed. I could try to put a different spin on this, but it didn’t happen. I did some of the necessary planning (made my lunch and prepared breakfast last night) and got as far as finding a clean dry swimming costume, but I hadn’t packed all of my bags and laid out my clothes. I know that if I haven’t achieved this level of organisation then my day is unlikely to be successful. Then there was a further layer of trouble… I’m not sure whether the alarm went off this morning, but Stuart and I were both tired, so I didn’t realise what the time was until 6:53am. At that stage, I could have salvaged the swim, but it would have required not eating breakfast (or packing it up to bring it to work), and I saw it as a sign that my body was giving me a rest day… however, now the guilt is kicking in.

If I had really wanted to do the swim, it would have happened, but I didn’t make it happen. Maybe I’m not committed enough at the moment? I could have brought my swimming kit with me and swum in my lunch hour, or after work, but I decided not to even try that. I thought about adding in an extra swim session tomorrow, but I’m concerned about being overtired before Eastleigh 10k.

I’ve given myself a sharp reminder that it’s not possible to do everything and do it all well. Have I so many goals that I’m lacking focus? My immediate plans are:

  • To complete Southampton parkrun on Saturday (because I want to have done 100 by the end of the month)
  • To achieve a PB at Eastleigh 10k  on Sunday
  • To achieve a PB at Paris marathon on 7th April
  • To complete an Ironman by the time I’m 40

Maybe I need to take an agile project management approach to this – what are the musts, should, could and woulds? In other words, maybe I have to accept that I can’t have/do everything and I need to prioritise what I’m going to do.