If you’re a serious cyclist living anywhere near Tucson, you’ve probably at least heard of it—though perhaps not attempted it.
It’s rated one of the toughest road bike hill climbs anywhere in the country. If it were in Europe, it’d be classified as either category 1 (translation: really hard) or hors catégorie (literally “above category,” or maybe “beyond categorization” if you want to be poetic about it).
What makes it so tough isn’t so much the pitch, but the length. Although the average angle of ascent isn’t that steep (only about four and a half degrees), you just. Keep. Climbing. We’re talking around 40 miles of continuous ascent, reaching a peak of about 6,600 feet above sea level.
Yet despite the difficulty, every year dozens (if not hundreds!) of riders sign up and pay the registration fee to make the challenging trek. (The next climb takes off next week Friday, May 4).
Because it’s fun! And because everyone loves a good challenge. (Especially one with designated rest stops every six miles carrying food, water, repair parts, and moral support!)
What’s Your Sports Challenge?
Many of us set big-picture goals for ourselves. For some in the Tucson area, it’s the Mt. Lemmon Hill Climb. For you, it might be running your first marathon or half marathon. Or breaking 80 (or 90, or 100 …) at your local golf course.
The pursuit of these goals—and ultimately achievement—can be intensely gratifying and meaningful. We encourage all our patients and friends to make a commitment to exercise, activity, and achievement, regardless of their age or fitness level.
Unfortunately, many of us get waylaid on our way to the proverbial summit. It could be an injury. It could be discouragement or loss of motivation. It could simply be the circumstances of life.
But you don’t have to let these things stop you! You can achieve great things if you work at it. Here are some tips to help you track down your big goal.
Set Smaller Goals First
You’re not going to go from the couch to the Olympics in a day. Although a goal like running a marathon or biking Mt. Lemmon is an achievable one for most adults with sufficient fitness and training, it may seem overwhelming and insurmountable at first. That’s why so many people get discouraged and quit.
So if you’re still a ways off from your big goal, don’t look at it as one big, huge, distant challenge. Think of it as part of a series of challenges that gradually increase over time.
This automatically does a lot of great things for you:
- It keeps you motivated, since the next challenge is always just over the horizon (and there’s always a new accomplishment to celebrate)!
- It gives you an easy way to track your progress.
- It builds the momentum you need to eventually meet—and surpass—your original challenge.
Identify Your Enemy
Be honest with yourself. What’s the biggest thing stopping you from achieving your goal?
For some, it’s the temptation to stay up late, sleep in, and skip your training sessions.
For others, it’s a passion for delicious food that, well, might not exactly be the best for your diet.
Often, it’s the busy pace of life itself. Work, kids, friends, other hobbies—all these things compete for your time. And frankly, some are more important right now than “run 5 miles before Thursday.”
By identifying these obstacles early, and being proactive about how you’re going to deal with them when they arise, you can develop the discipline to prioritize and stay on track.
The right shoes, safety gear, and equipment make a huge difference. That means sport-specific shoes, whether your passion is road running, trail running, cycling, soccer, etc. And it also means the right pair of corrective eyewear if your vision isn’t sharp enough to keep you safe on the road or on the field.
If you try to wear equipment for a different sport than the one it was designed for, you aren’t going to be as protected against injury. You’ll also likely be slower, and performance will suffer. So there’s a double danger—you’re less likely to meet your goal, and you’re more likely to get hurt while attempting it.
Hold Yourself Accountable
You might not make every deadline you set for yourself. But as soon as you allow yourself to “cheat” or make excuses, you’re on a slippery slope.
Having a buddy train with you is one great way to keep yourself honest and hold yourself accountable. It’s much easier psychologically to disappoint yourself than disappoint someone else.
But ultimately, the buck stops with you. No one cares about your goals more than you do. So no more excuses! And if you miss a goal or a deadline, don’t just get angry—get even tomorrow.
Listen to Your Body
It’s great to strive for a challenge. But pushing yourself too hard can have devastating consequences.
No one said it would be easy—and it won’t be—but playing through legitimate pain puts you at high risk of developing a catastrophic injury. And if you develop one of those, your progress will reset to zero.
If your feet are in pain at any point during your training, take them in to see Dr. Shih. And if your vision gets blurry, or your eyes start to hurt, give our own Dr. Z a call. When it comes to keeping your body in shape from head to toe, we’re the experts, and our only goal is helping you achieve yours.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us anytime at (52) 545-0202, or toll free at (888) 219-1982.