This morning I got up early in order to get in my workout before a really busy day- keep in mind that I’m still a student, so for me to actually be anywhere at 7:30 am is quite an accomplishment. I got to Healthworks at that ghastly hour, and decided that I would run for half an hour and then go to the Smartbells class at 8. I was thinking specifically about my goals to run a faster 5k and to try different kinds of workouts, or at least exercise in a different way than I might normally.

A few weeks ago, I ran outside and then mapped my run to find out the distance, and according to google I had run 2 miles – in 20 minutes – at my fastest pace ever. I’m not a 10-minute miler, and I was shocked that I would be able to run so fast for 2 miles! I’m realizing now, though, that my calculation must not have been accurate (and this happened while I was training over the summer, too. Even though I thought I had trained up to 12 miles, my run at the race was so unbelievable difficult) because this morning I huffed and puffed all over the treadmill. I ended up running at an 11-minute pace, and then had to stop to take a breather before picking it up again. Needless to say, I worked really hard for that half hour.

Then I went to smartbells, which is a class I have really come to love. I can actually see myself getting stronger, and I’m able to do more of the exercises comfortably. This morning, however, I felt too exhausted to last for the entirety of the class. My muscles simply felt fatigued, and I noticed that I wasn’t engaging in the exercises in the strong manner I usually aim for. At one point, 20 minutes in the 30 minute class, I really needed to rest. And then I left early, because I was just too tired.

Here’s the question: I’ve set these goals for myself; this week, I decided that I would workout 5 times. After this morning’s workout, though, I felt really fatigued. At what point to I just listen to what my body is clearly telling me (“I’m tired!”) and take another day off, and at what point do I push myself to just keep going? If I rest, it means I won’t make my goal, but I also know that so much of strength training and cardiovascular improvement takes place during the recovery time. At what point do I stop and readjust my goals for the week?

What goals do you set for yourself, and how strictly do you keep to them?