Why you Should set Running Goals that are Audacious
Everyone seems to be talking about setting goals. The New Year is an obvious time for that – a time to reset, and look ahead. It’s a time that is full of possibilities and potential. A time to reflect on the past, and focus on the future.
Last week, we hosted a tweet chat about goal setting. I asked a few questions around how people set goals. Several said they don’t, or at least not ones that were very specific. “Run more consistently,” “stay injury free,” or “PR in a marathon” were a few. While those certainly aren’t bad, they’re not as helpful as they could be.
The goal setting process is important. It helps you focus on critical elements of your training so you’ll know when to step it up, and when to step back. Goals also give you purpose, and a motivation for whatever it is you’re doing. When possible, set goals long term and dream BIG!
Set an Audacious Goal and Break it Down
This year I have an audacious goal. To qualify for the Boston Marathon. Specifically, to run a 3:09:59 at a fall marathon (I’m still deciding which one). This is a stretch for me, but not unrealistic after my PR at this year’s Twin Cities Marathon. This won’t be easy! To do it, I’ll need to break it down into smaller bites.
Richard Suinn, PhD, former team psychologist for U.S. Olympic athletes says that when setting goals, you need subgoals. These should be “concrete, observational steps that one aims to accomplish, as each step leads closer and closer to that end.” The best way to climb a mountain is one step at a time.
I know part of my process will involve eating healthier, sleeping more and strength training. These were three things missing from my last training cycle that would have helped. I will need SMART goals in each of these areas to get to Boston.
Focus on the Process
Jeff Gaudette suggests runners “don’t focus on the end goal — instead, focus on the process.” To hit your next big goal, you should focus on the process of getting yourself there. Instead of jumping right into a Boston marathon training program, I’m going to work with my coach to assess where I’m at, and what I need to do next. I’m currently NOT at a fitness level to run a sub 3:10 marathon. I will likely need to run several races between now and then to figure out if I have a shot.
By focusing on the processes of attaining your big goal, you can make adjustments as needed. You’re also less likely to get injured because you’re starting from your current level of fitness, not jumping in over your head. Overtraining is one of the quickest ways to injury.
Write Your Running Goals Down
According to Michael Hyatt, writing your goals down forces you to clarify what you want, motivate you to take action, provide a filter for other opportunities and allows you to chart your progress. Runners tend to be a little nerdy when it comes to numbers. Seeing the progress you’re making towards your goals can be extremely motivating!
Setting Goals for You
So, what is your big goal for this year? Share it in the comments section and I’ll check in with you in a few months to see how you’re doing. Accountability to your running goals is one way to stay on track.