Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Long Term Development, Progress and Goals

How does one set out a multiyear, decade or longer plan, and then follow through? The key is small steps, intermediate goals that can be somewhat rapidly checked off.

For example, take my running.

  • In 2007 I set out to go after an Olympic Trials marathon standard. 
  • In 2008 I ran 1500, 5k, and 10k PRs and my first ever 100 mile week.
  • In 2009 I ran a mile and half marathon PR.
  • 2010 was not a great year, but I did run something like 3300 miles, including a lot of miles at altitude.
  • 2011 saw PRs at the marathon and half marathon along with some massive mileage.
  • 2012 was a good year on the track as I set PRs at the 5k and 10k.
  • Finally, 2013 overall has been a success as I set PRs at the 800, mile and 8k and learned what it means to go out too fast in a marathon.
  • 2014 will hopefully be PRs in the marathon, 5k and mile along with some more massive mileage.
While I could say the major goal is the marathon, it is noticeable how so much of the development thus far has focused on shorter distances. Another great example would be my climbing and mountaineering.

  • 2002 climb South Massive and Mt. Elbert in one long 15 hour solo day. 
  • 2003 use ice axe for the first time.
  • 2004 first time using crampons on a failed North Face of Longs Peak attempt.
  • In 2005 I led my first traditional rock climbs.
  • In 2006 I tried to summit a mountain every month and experienced winter mountaineering.
  • 2007 saw me climbing longer harder traditional rock climbs.
  • In 2008 I did some big climbs in RMNP (the Diamond) and invented an ice axe.
  • 2009 was the year I spent seven weeks in Pakistan and reached 7000 meters on Broad Peak in addition to ice soloing and aid climbing.
  • In 2010 I pushed my rock climbing ability to 5.12 and did some free soloing and went to Yosemite.
  • 2011 was really more focused on running but I did get out and rope solo climb a little in addition to financial training.
  • 2012 was a decent year for climbing including Devils Tower and more financial training.
  • 2013 had some silo ice climbing and a little rock climbing and more financial training.
  • 2014 will be interesting.
Here again multiple aspects of climbing are addressed so that I have the experience to attempt larger objectives. 

How do you track progress? If what you are running faster, climbing harder or higher in most years, that is progress, even if it doesn't live up to your goals. It can be harder in the working world to see regular career progress but the concepts are the same. If one is developing slightly lighter structures, greater ranges of motion, less expensive to produce, or otherwise more functional devices, progress is happening, even if we don't have hover boards like Back to the Future III.

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