In 5 days I’m running my first half marathon, The Palm Beaches Marathon. It’ll be the longest distance I’ve ever run.

I decided to do it very shortly after receiving the Garmin Fenix 3 HR for my birthday from my very awesome girlfriend. While that would be an extremely powerful case study for a fitness tracker getting someone to take action, it was definitely a case of correlation.

Upon deciding to do this race I knew I’d have to start a training plan. It’d be quite easy to find one online, but I also knew the Fenix had a way to download training plans so it seemed like a good way to put it to use.

Garmin provides lots of training plans for every kind of major race. Actually they have two training plans for every race but don’t explain the difference.

I picked a 16 week plan though I only had about 8 weeks before the race. I was able to set the race day and the plan automatically gets scheduled in my Garmin training calendar all the way back to the current day. This then gets downloaded to the watch where it lives until I delete it, no internet or bluetooth connection required. Because I’m a big calendar nerd I was also able to subscribe to my Garmin calendar and load it up on my Apple Calendar app where everything else gets scheduled.

Easy setup, straightforward plan. But here’s where it gets good. Just having this scheduled made me 10x more likely to do it (approximation). If my plan was “I need to run more” I maybe would have hit it once or twice a week, with not much focus or strategy.

Having it marked down and seeing that green check box after it was completed built a reinforcing habit that may sound simple but turned into a positive reinforcer to keep me going.

I’ve taken this a step further and now started to block out CrossFit times. It’s usually not a problem for me to go, but about once a week I’ll plan on going the night before, only to wake up groggy, hit snooze, and convince myself that I don’t have time and I should just go into the office and work.

If it’s on the calendar I’m much more likely to hold myself accountable.

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Joey is the CEO and Head Coach of New Territory. He’s made it his mission to give everyone the tools and knowledge to have active and healthy lives. Some of his passions include climbing, traveling, and coffee.

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