Saturday, May 20, 2023

How to Set Running Goals

In this post, I'd like to provide you with some tips for setting running goals. Goal setting is an important aspect of improving performance and staying motivated. Here are a few of my recommendations:

Make your goals specific

Set clear and specific running goals rather than vague ones. For example, instead of saying, "I want to run faster," specify a target time or distance you want to achieve. Specific goals provide focus and direction.

Set realistic and achievable goals

While it's essential to challenge yourself, make sure your goals are realistic and attainable. Setting overly ambitious goals can lead to frustration and demotivation. Consider your current fitness level, previous running experience, and available time for training when setting your goals.

I actually like to set 3 goals. One that I'd be happy with. One I'd be excited to get. One I'd be totally jazzed if I got it. All within reason, naturally. For example, I'd be happy with an 8 minute mile. Really happy with a 7:45. Totally pumped if I ran a 7:30. All would be very reasonable given the amount of time you have to train.

Use the SMART framework

Apply the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) framework to your running goals. Make sure they are specific, measurable, within reach, relevant to your overall objectives, and set a deadline for achieving them. For example, "I will run a 10K race in under 50 minutes within the next three months."

Break goals into smaller milestones

Divide your long-term running goals into smaller, manageable milestones. Achieving these milestones along the way provides a sense of accomplishment and helps maintain motivation. For instance, if your goal is to run a marathon, set smaller goals of completing a 10K, a half marathon, and so on.

By doing this, you get that sense of accomplishment along the way which keeps you motivated.

Focus on process-oriented goals

While outcome goals (such as winning a race) are important, it's crucial to also set process-oriented goals. These goals focus on the actions and behaviors that lead to success. For example, committing to a specific number of training sessions per week or improving your running form can be process-oriented goals.

Monitor and track progress 

Keep a record of your running sessions, times, distances, and any other relevant data. Regularly review your progress to stay motivated and assess whether adjustments are needed. Tracking your progress can also help identify patterns, strengths, and areas for improvement.

I used to use a journal book. Then I switched to excel. My Fitbit now captures everything and I'm sure you've heard of Strava! Click here for some great journals at

Be flexible and adapt 

Recognize that circumstances may change, and it's okay to modify your goals when necessary. Life events, injuries, or unexpected setbacks can impact your progress. Adaptation and flexibility are key to maintaining motivation and continuing to make progress.

Share your goals

Consider sharing your running goals with a supportive friend, running group, or coach. Verbalizing your goals to others can increase accountability and provide a support system. Others can offer encouragement, guidance, and motivation along the way. Social media is a great way to do this too. You can't let your followers down. Plus, it gives you content to post. 

Remember, goal setting is a dynamic process. Regularly reassess your goals, make adjustments as needed, and celebrate your achievements along the way. Enjoy the journey and focus on the progress you're making in your running endeavors.

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