muscle-up, single-legged squats and other tough exercises which I had previously considered beyond my capabilities. While I am not so sure whether I will ever be able to achieve those objectives, there is one objective that I feel I can aim for - and achieve; with proper training and diet.
This new objective is to complete a 5 kilometer run in under 20 minutes. You may wonder what is special about running a 5K in less than 20 minutes. Let's just say it's pretty darn hard. World class runners run the 5K in around 13 minutes, professional runners will need 14-15 minutes while college-level runners will need 16-17 minutes. For amateurs, a sub-20 minute run is indeed an achievement. This interesting thread on coolrunning.com discusses the challenges and achievements of those who could do the sub-20 minute run, and those who wish to achieve this objective.
When I first started running, I was very happy when I could do a 5K run in 30 minutes (meaning I was running at 10kph for the entire duration of the run). I slowly managed to reduce the time till I was comfortable doing the 5K in 25 minutes (running at 12kph). Once I started the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), I found that I could decrease the time required to complete the 5K - especially after I started with the Asafa Powell training. Just 4 days back, I finished the 5K in a personal best time of 22:39. And yesterday, I bettered that by running it in 22:14. Cutting another 2 minutes and 14 seconds is not going to be easy. It will require specific training (think more HIIT), and mental preparation because you need to run at a constant 15kph for 20 minutes to complete the 5K in exactly 20 minutes. Currently, I am lucky if I can hold the 15kph pace for more than 1 minute.
What makes the 5K run special for me is the nature of this distance. It is not too long that you will get bored by it - and it is not too short that it gets over too quickly. It requires a perfect balance between speed and endurance to complete a 5K run. Start too slow, and you will have difficulty in doing the run in a decent amount of time. Start too fast, and you will burn out after 1 or 2 kilometers. You need to mentally prepare yourself to run at a specific pace and stay on that pace no matter what.