Perhaps it is because my family’s four daughters are more independent now, all out of the house – at university, married and only one left in high school – that really burned through the excuses that I could and should invest time to take better care of my health, energy levels, and most of all, explore how I approached disciplined habits in my life. I would like to consider myself a casual runner (jogger perhaps) where my teammates at work and myself would sign up for a 5km or a 10km and prepare for a couple of weeks prior to our 4-5 races each year. But this time, I wanted something more. I wanted to experience the mental and physical discipline to train for something bigger. I wanted to experience a breakthrough in performance.
The turning point for me was when my daughter Tatum ran her full marathon in Rochester, New York in September 2014. She would discuss with her friends about the event and her friends would ask, “Oh, I wanted to run a marathon – how do you do it?”. She would state simply, “Pick a race, make a plan and do it.” We can learn a lot from our children.
So that is what I did. My plateau was a half marathon and my race day was set as March 1, 2015 with an appropriate name – the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington, Ontario.
Creating an Action Plan
The easiest decision for me was to train with a group. I joined the Running Room in Guelph and set the path for 18 weeks of training. One thing business has taught me is the benefit of a strong plan to follow as well as a network of people sharing best practices and resources.
The Running Room provided the structure of training three times per week with other runners. This training plan included a clinic to provide resources on food, supplements, stretching, and set hill training and fartleks (a form of interval training), which will forever be marked in my mind. Starting November 1, 2014 and running +500km, I can truly remark it was not the weather that got me. Cold, yes. Windy too. But it was what the snow did to strengthening my stride – which only snow could do.
If I did not have my group, I would not have ventured outside some nights. It was the accountability to each of them, their encouragement, it was running with some of the top runners; working towards that one goal together that brought me out. It was the little gems of direction and free advice that were priceless. Such as the coaches’ words of “Point your right foot straight,” “watch your pace – you’re going out to fast,” “don’t forget to drink water,” and just the consistency of emails to keep you focused – reminds me the value of listening to others’ experiences and observing their strengths.
The Accountability of a Group Towards Goals
The ability to be reminded of the importance of working a plan (and a long, nasty one too), developing a new habit while fostering the strength of my inner discipline was an amazing highlight. It is the power that we all hold in our inner self to take on the next challenge and to become better for it. And yet, most of all, it is relationships with the coaches and other trainees, that is so inspiring. During these busy days, we sometimes overlook the blessings to be impacted by others.
In business and in pleasure, performance breakthroughs come to those who seek change. Make sure you cross your next finish line with an accountability partner. It sure made it easier for me to hit my sub two-hour race goal. Truly, it is sweet to mark this one off my bucket list! And yes, you guessed it; I am now on the lookout to find an accountability group to take my business and team to the next level as well.
Canadian Government Funding Supports Accountability
Accountability in business also has its benefits. What we’ve found in the hundreds of businesses that Mentor Works has helped is that Canadian government funding effectively helps businesses plan and carry out a project work plan and budget. Business funding applications often require applicants to outline their project milestones, spending timelines, and forecasts.
For some businesses, this is a new activity that systemizes the way that they conduct project management, however it also holds them accountable to accurately meeting those objectives and budgets. These side effects of government grants and incentives lead to more than a financial benefit to the company; they have a reinforced approach to strategic planning that affects their resource management as well. If you’re interested in discovering business funding for your upcoming projects, please register for a Complimentary Funding Workshop or Webinar to explore what is currently available and how to get started.