Yearly Goals: Half Time Status

24th of August

At the start of the previous four years, I have set personal goals to reach during those years. For 2020 as well. This particularly weird year is now more than halfway done (and many people hope it will end rather sooner than later). Still, I followed through with my goals as far as I could and will give my halfway point results here.

Keep pushing, the show must go on
Keep pushing, the show must go on

Status of Main Goal #1: Run 12 Marathons

As everyone probably knows, almost all the marathon races have been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It sucks for many people, especially some companies reliant on creating the events. I myself have learned to live with it quite well. It’s funny how that works, my mind now remembers the bad things about the big races more vividly and I think “maybe it’s for the best that those races don’t exist right now”.

Our COVID project to keep the kids entertained during lockdown at home: four new guinea pig girls for our four girls
Our COVID project to keep the kids entertained during lockdown at home: four new guinea pig girls for our four girls

As if I had a hunch about the pandemic coming up, I changed my own marathon rules to include all privately run marathon distances (as opposed to official races) at the beginning of the year. So I don’t even break the rules here, I just have to make sure to keep running a 42.2 kilometer stretch per month. Easy!

After these six months, I am exactly on plan.

1. Wesel Marathon

January 5th (Strava): A short and cold one right at the start of the year. Good shape, good day, finished in 3:28:53 hours.
It’s hard to imagine to stand in such a crowd without feeling uneasy now
It’s hard to imagine to stand in such a crowd without feeling uneasy now

2. Nicosia Marathon

February 16th (Strava): I wrote a separate blog post about this one, because it was special to me and concluded the EU marathon challenge. It was about to be my last real race for a long time.
Highlight: meeting Michael from Cologne by chance – he is/was also collecting EU marathon finishes
Highlight: meeting Michael from Cologne by chance – he is/was also collecting EU marathon finishes

3. Hamburg Marathon solo

April 19th (Strava): On the date of the canceled Hamburg Marathon I chose to run the official route alone and wrote about.
It was a good day for a long solo run through the city
It was a good day for a long solo run through the city

4. Hamburg Marathon solo CW

May 3rd (Strava): A friend on Strava gave me the idea and so I copied it. Running the Hamburg marathon route in the wrong direction. Quite different! Wrote about that one, too.

5. Kärnten Nockberg @Home 6x Alster

May 16th (Strava): One of the other canceled races I used as an excuse to run a marathon on home turf. Read about it here.
Recovery run the day after: around the block for 19 kilometers. But veeeery slow.
Recovery run the day after: around the block for 19 kilometers. But veeeery slow.

6. Alsterwanderweg Marathon

June 13th (Strava): A hiking route I always wanted to explore further. With no journeys possible, I decided to use the opportunity right now. Here’s the blog post.
Had I followed these signs for a bit longer I would have ended up somewhere in northern Spain
Had I followed these signs for a bit longer I would have ended up somewhere in northern Spain

Status of Main Goal #2: Read 12 Books

My reading ambitions were not as on point as my running as I would have liked. The first three books I read were easy entertainment, but after that I started a bunch of books with more serious content. Those are taking me a lot longer because they require full attention, which is hard to give during my full days. I would need to carve out an hour in the mornings to read, but at that point I have work to do and find myself drifting away from the books in favor of thinking about our projects and company plans a lot. 

In the evenings I have a bit of extra time but rarely have the brain capacity left over necessary for reading a demanding book. Meaning, very little progress. I’m currently in the middle of four different books, which is also not helping to finish them quicker. 

But I decided to just make this goal a little less of a priority and probably tackle it with a more systematic approach some time in autumn when outside activities are not as much of an attraction as they are during the late spring and summer.

The books I have finished so far this year are these. For a short review by me on all of those take a look at the bookshelf section of this website.

  1. Nils Wittrock: Wer jetzt noch umblättert, ist selber schuld
  2. Haruki Murakami: Wovon ich rede, wenn ich vom Laufen rede
  3. Barry Brickell: Rails Toward the Sky
  4. Ian McEwan: Saturday

10 Secondary Goals

These have had varying results so far and I have a bit of work to do, still. One of the goals has been eliminated and replaced, and a few are on the way of getting completed. Here’s the full list.

1. Run at least three times during every single week of this year, 5 kilometers minimum.

❌ Already failed. In total, there were four weeks during the first half of 2020 during which I didn’t manage to go out for three separate runs. It started at the end of April, when a lack of motivation just wouldn’t let me go out and drag myself around the block. Not even for a short 5k. I remember experiencing this during May of 2019 as well but I haven’t found out the reason why this keeps happening as of yet. I hope I find a solution for when that same feeling hits me again next time. Or maybe it just won’t happen ever again, hopefully.

Still, I made it through almost four complete months until the failure. A third of the year. I’m happy about that.

2. Do a period of 1-3 months during which I don’t buy anything new for myself. Exceptions: broken stuff, essentials.

💤 I think I completed this during the COVID months of March, April, and May. We were in full-on quarantine mode in our minds and I didn’t shop online to cope at all, if I remember correctly. In June I noticed how my bank account had reached an unusually comfortable mark, which is also a sign. But, I’m not really sure if it’s 100% true that I didn’t buy anything unnecessary, and it certainly wasn’t deliberate to follow through with this goal during those months, it more or less just happened. Which is why I will repeat this during the second half of the year in a completely conscious way. Looking forward to what I will learn.

3. “Miracle morning” month: Wake up every day at 5:00 AM straight for 31 continuous days.

🔄 This just didn’t seem realistic anymore when I planned it for May. I just didn’t think the goal’s consequences through, I guess. At our current stage of family life with two jobs it would have just been selfish to steal that important hour of sleep from Sophie in the mornings. Not to mention it would probably have been like torture for me as well, as I have a different biological rhythm and I should be grateful that my body lets me regularly wake up at 6:30 AM to be a helpful part of the family during the mornings. In addition, I recently came across a YouTube video of a guy who did exactly that experiment and came out the other side saying it was a giant waste of time and didn’t improve anything at all in his life.

New goal instead of this one: Do a month with 50 push-ups every day.

This is a lot more doable and has clearly positive consequences. I’m currently in the middle of it at the time of writing this and have upped the goal to 100 per day after the first half of the month. So this is a good replacement.

4. A plant-based month.

Not completed during the first half of 2020, but I’m also in the middle of it at the time of writing this, which is August.

5. A running streak month: run every day for a least 5 kilometers.

✅ Now this a lot easier that Goal #1, because the 30 days limit is a psychological advantage. You know it’ll be over soon when it gets hard. 

I started this goal by accident on June 1st when I went for a 38 kilometer long run in brilliant weather after a few weeks of poor running motivation.

Running streak start
Running streak start

Afterwards I felt depleted but happy, just like I remembered those big runs to feel like. Realizing it was June 1st made me remember this goal as well, which is why I kept going the next day. I felt like 5 kilometers are too little to make it a real challenge, so I decided to go with 10 kilometers minimum instead.

A bunch of bigger runs were also part of the month, including the marathon I did on the Alsterwanderweg. Doing a 10k the day before and the day after a full marathon is not easy, but since I went really slow, it was possible. This challenge has been great and I would recommend it to anyone thinking about it. 

The data
The data

6. Manage a month with at least 400 total running kilometers.

✅ Also by accident, I remembered this goal when doing the #10keveryday during June. To get to 400 total kilometers, which I had never done before, I would need 13.3 kilometers on average per day. That’s not too far away from the 10k minimum rule I set, so I went for it. After a few weeks it became clear to me that this wouldn’t be as easy as I thought at the beginning, but with a little concentrated effort, it turned out to be accomplishable, too. End result, as seen in the statistics above: 454.6 kilometers. Not too bad. Will I go for 500 soon?

7. A month of zero alcohol.

✅ This was easy. I started on January 4th, and while I missed the occasional evening beers, it was not a problem at all to cut out the alcohol. In the middle of March I felt like having a beer again, so that was the end of that. About two and a half months instead of just one. Easily repeatable, but in my situation it doesn’t come with a huge benefit as I don’t drink a lot anyways. It never interferes with my life in any way, and it would really annoy me if I couldn’t go on a long morning run because of too many drinks the night before. So this has been a bit of a non-challenge. 

8. Get to 100 rope skips without a break.

Haven’t tried to do this yet. Could be either very easy or very tough, I think. I ordered a good skipping rope, so I’m prepared.

9. Repeat the daily 7 Minute Workouts month.

Aiming for September, haven’t done those in a long time, but I clearly remember feeling very fit after the last few daily 7 minute workout months. Good idea probably.

10. Reach 5 minutes of planking.

Honestly, I’m rather scared of this goal and I’m not sure it’s possible for me. I have been training the planks daily now for many weeks and the best I can do at this point is just three minutes straight, bordering on collapsing right then. It’s going to be a fight for sure, but I’m not yet willing to give up.

To not giving up!

Do you have any suggestions for new goals? Or tips regarding those mentioned? I’m always happy to receive a little note from a reader via that message box below!


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