What the Kiawah Half Marathon Teaches About Investment Goals

Preparing for a half-marathon isn’t nearly as daunting as preparing a lifetime investment plan. Over the years, I have completed oodles of half-marathon races, and was crazy enough to run the Cape Cod full Marathon in 1998. I followed Hal Higdon’s training program, and was religious about completing the scheduled training runs in preparation for each event. I never broke any records, but I had a lot of fun, and was healthy and in good shape. In the past five years, however, I have completed just two half marathons, one in San Francisco and one in Myrtle Beach. Might I add I was grossly unprepared for both. The runs were not much fun, and borderline torturous. Luckily I didn’t get injured, because as those of you who are runners know, it is highly likely you will get hurt if you are untrained and go run 13.1 miles.  One good thing that came out of the Myrtle Beach race was that my dog, Camper, got her picture in the Myrtle Beach Sun Newspaper:

Happy Camper the dog waiting...and waiting... and waiting...to see her owner run by in the Myrtle Beach 1/2 Marathon

Camper waiting…and waiting… and waiting…to see me run by in the Myrtle Beach 1/2 Marathon

This year, I am signed up for the Kiawah Island Half Marathon in December, and I am determined to enter the race well-prepared. I want to get back into a good level of fitness to improve my overall health. This means running 5 times a week instead of the 2-3 times I have been able to fit in over the past few years. What I have noticed over the past few weeks, is that the most important thing I can do is get out the door and complete my short runs. Five years ago, my shortest runs were 4-5 miles, and now they are about 2. Five years ago I could easily finish a 10-12 mile run at a solid pace, with plenty of energy to spare. Now my longest runs are 4-5 miles, and I am ready to hit the couch for the rest of the day when I am done.

Whether you are in your 30-40’s and worried about saving for retirement, or in your 60-70’s and unsure if you will have enough money for your lifetime, take heart! There is a plethora of historical data from which to build a reasonably accurate plan for any investment goal. It might seem daunting, but if you put a pencil to paper, you really can map out the small, incremental things to do so that you reach your goals with comfort and confidence. When you map out a written plan that breaks a large goal into smaller, incremental pieces, you know exactly what you need to be doing on a weekly and monthly basis. Hal Higdon’s program tells me how many miles I need to run each week (broken out into daily short-medium runs and one long run on the weekend) for the last 12 weeks prior to the Kiawah 1/2 Marathon. The mileage increases very incrementally each week so that by the time December 14th rolls around, I will feel both comfortable and confident about doing the race. And for the first time in 5 years, I will have fun doing it! Investing in the stock market and planning for retirement is fun if you have the right plan in place. Instead of obsessing with the onerous goal, focus on the baby steps so you can have fun and relax.

© 2013 Pawleys Investment Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.

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