With only a few days left in this year, we are all thinking about what’s next in 2017… and from what I’ve heard from several people, 2016 just needs to be out of here. I do love this comic from The Oatmeal (sorry for some harsh language at the end):
Anyways! One of the things about the new year is it’s the chance to start over with a clean slate… and for many people, that means New Year’s Resolutions. I’m not a fan of that term because I feel like whenever you say “resolution,” people just want to roll their eyes because they have such a bad connotation.
I am more of a fan of calling them goals, and I think it’s the perfect time of year to set some running goals for the year ahead. There are different types of running goals that you can set, but you need to do it in the right way in order for them to be achievable. I mean, you can’t exactly say that you are going to cut your marathon time from four hours to a qualifier for the Olympics. It *could* happen, it just takes some steps to get there first… and those steps are the best ones to use as goals for what you need to achieve next.
So, when it comes to setting achievable running goals, here are some thoughts from yours truly — who has definitely failed at setting successful goals over the years. 😉
Don’t just say get faster.
Let’s face it, we all want to get faster. But what do you mean by getting faster? Do you want a faster marathon time? Do you want your daily runs to be faster? Do you want to crush a mile timed race?
Those all are very different goals that require different changes in your training. Figure out where you want to improve and go from there. (I have definitely done the blanket goal of “PR in any race” (ahem my goal this year) and it’s not terrible to do it that way if you don’t know where you want to focus, but if you are more specific, you can be more successful because… focus.)
Your running goal might not require running.
If you want to get faster or you want to lose weight, running may not be your ticket to get it done. It might have to be a more precise focus on food or maybe, you need to spend more time in the weight room. I know, it sucks, I wish everything could just be solved with running sometimes. 😉
Bring some fun into it.
I don’t think all achievable running goals have to be all serious and down to business. Maybe you set a goal to run a destination race (come see me in Minneapolis!)… or maybe you set a goal to run a race with your best friend, sister or dad. Think about what would put a smile on your face.
Go streaking… if your body can handle it.
A run streak (where you run every day for a period of time) works great for some people. For others (like yours truly)? Not so much. My body starts to break down and I can just tell that it’s not a good idea for me to do it. Take this into account before you set a goal like this… it’s a little untraditional and I think it takes a special body/person/mindset to handle streaking. I know that I’m not there.
Think about mini goals.
You may have a major goal of breaking, say, 4 hours in the marathon. That’s an awesome goal, but what’s going to get you there? Perhaps you sign up for a fall marathon and in the meantime, focus on mini goals —> going to yoga twice a week, being able to squat XX pounds or even setting a certain time in a half marathon to prepare. These mini goals will set you up for success and in the meantime, it’ll make it feel like your big goal isn’t that big.
What are your tips for setting achievable running goals?
What are your running goals for 2017?
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