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How to set running goals and actually achieve them

Running goals are what hold us accountable to continue improving and help us stay on track. They are an essential part of your running because you may easily lack motivation or feel lost in training properly without them. In addition, running goals guide us through our journey and makes running a fun experience.

Why do you need to set running goals?

There was a time in the past, where I was “just running”. I didn’t think about what was next, and my focus was only to complete the run for the day. It was winter, and running became more challenging. It was hard to get out of the door since it was cold and icy outside, or there was just too much snow. I could find excuses for staying warm and cozy at home because it was not such a big deal if I missed a run or two. Anyway, there was nothing on the horizon. Thus, I started to get comfortable skipping some runs. At some point, my fitness was suffering since I lacked consistency.
I knew something had to change to get me through the door and start running again with passion. Then, suddenly my coach told me I would do a race in two months. This is what I needed- A race. I had a goal, I knew what was coming next, I knew exactly how much I had left until the big day, and I knew what was required to run fast. Having this in mind just made my running purposeful and excited me to get out of bed.
Setting a running goal helps you to get organized and executive with your running. It drives you to do well and has a reason why you need to do every run.

What could be a running goal?

Running goals should be individual, and they can be very diverse. For example, your running goal could be to complete a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, or marathon, to do an ultra race, or just ANY race. It could also be a time goal. For example, running a marathon sub 4 hours. It could also be something like running a particular mileage each month until you reach your target. Whatever excites you, set a goal and pursue it!

The importance of transitional goals or process goals

Running goals should be individual, and they can be very diverse. For example, your running goal could be to complete a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, or marathon, to do an ultra race, or just ANY race. It could also be a time goal. For example, running a marathon sub 4 hours. It could also be something like running a particular mileage each month until you reach your target. Whatever excites you, set a goal and pursue it!

Let’s imagine you signed up for a half-marathon in the fall, but you have never run even a 5k. An excellent transitional goal for you will be to build a good endurance base and sign up for shorter races like 5k and 10k to help you gain confidence.
If you are somebody who lacks consistency but would like to run at least five times per week, a reasonable transitional goal for you would be to find a friend to run with or join a group that meets together for most of their runs. You could also add a 5k run each weekend that is popular in your town.

Balancing goals with your life and how to deal when things go not by plan

Having goals means that you will need to work for them, thus making some sacrifices. What helps is prioritizing what you need to do for the day or the week. You have to be more precise with your time and spend less time doing things that are not critical for the moment. For example, if what matters the most for you is your family, friends, job, and running at the moment, find a way to balance them, limiting activities that are less important right now. Have a plan and try combing some of your tasks. For example, if you want to do a long run during the weekend but you also want to spend time with family and friends, invite them to ride alongside you during your run for support. Or, have a brunch with them after you are complete your mileage. This way also you will be more excited about your running, balancing what matters the most.
If you have tons of work but want to run more, check if your area has lunch break running movement or create one. It is a fun way to get to know your colleagues better and spend more quality time with them in addition to pursuing your goals.
There is always a way to combine work with pleasure. You just have to be creative and passionate about it!
And don’t get disappointed if somehow your main goal or transitional goals don’t go as planned. It happens to everyone, and it doesn’t mean you have failed. It simply means you had to learn something from this experience. You always gain something regardless of the end result. Sometimes we have to take a step back before we make a big jump. Your crushed goal might be just the step back you need. Be ready for the big jump because nothing holds you back from being better except you.

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