The beginning of the new year provides an excellent chance to evaluate the current state of your running and set new running goals. It doesn’t matter if your goal is a 4 minute mile or 4 hour marathon, setting firm goals is a critical way to motivate yourself to train hard and keep focused. Here are some tips for effective goal setting:
Be Specific: In order to ensure accountability, set specific goals. For example, a goal to “run fast” is simply not detailed enough. If you don’t want to peg yourself to an exact time, choose a range. For example, a good goal might be: “Run a marathon between 4 hours and 4 hours and fifteen minutes.” Setting specific, meaningful running goals is the best way to ensure that you will be properly motivated. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm and set goals in different areas (i.e. set a mile time goal even though you are a marathoner).
Challenge Yourself: It is tempting to set easy goals to set yourself up for success. However, if you want to experience the real thrill of achievement, create goals that are a stretch but still within reach. Try not to set undue limits on yourself.
Create Goal Tiers: A good way to balance setting realistic running goals with challenging yourself is to set goal tiers. For example, goals in your first tier might be a 4 hour and 30 minute marathon and 6 minute mile race. The second tier might be a 4 hour and 15 minute marathon and 5:55 mile race. The third tier might be a 4 hour marathon and 5:50 mile race. Using tiers enables you to stretch your boundaries without feeling bad if you don’t hit all of your goals.
Write Down Your Goals: Make sure that you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write down your running goals. Consider placing your written goals in a place where you will see them frequently (i.e. on your bed stand – which will motivate you to get up for morning runs). Writing down your goals prevents you from conveniently forgetting them later.
Don’t Delay: As stated early, the new year is a great time to brainstorm and set running goals. Don’t procrastinate or you will never get around to setting your goals. Do it today!
Happy New Year!