6 Non-Race Goals for Recreational Runners
Runners are pretty goal-oriented people. We often talk about wanting to achieve a new personal best or run a Boston Marathon qualifying time, but those types of aspirations don’t appeal to everyone. Perhaps you simply aren’t in it for the glory of crossing the finish line.
While race-related objectives might not appeal to you, there’s certainly something to be said for working toward a goal. It can keep your running routine from getting stale and even help you discover new interests.
6 Non-Race Goals for Recreational Runners
Need some inspiration? Check out these non-race goals to get started. You might even come up with a few of your own.
1. Run a goal mileage without stopping
Maybe your workout is always the same combination of running segments and walking breaks or an all-too-familiar 5-mile loop. While being consistent can help you maintain a good fitness level, it can also start to feel boring after a while. Challenging yourself to run a distance you’ve never tackled before can be really motivating, and it gives you the chance to check out some slightly different scenery.
Adding more mileage to your life could mean adding years to your life, too. Some research suggests runners live about 3 years longer than non-runners. You obviously don’t want to go crazy with distance, but a few extra miles here and there can do your body good.
2. Complete a run at a target pace
Even non-racers can appreciate the feeling that comes with completing a particular route faster than usual. One of the best ways to make it happen without going overboard is to set a target pace you plan to hit for each mile. Be a bit conservative at first, because it’s easy to start out far too fast and then struggle to maintain your speed. This explains why pacers are so prevalent in road races. Plus, you can always kick it in if you have more in the tank.
3. Set a new running streak record
There’s a type of streaking that has nothing to do with nudity. In most running circles, streaking refers to running a specific number of days in a row. There’s even a website dedicated to it where you can see the top placeholders.
Some runners have been going out for at least a brief run every day for decades, but you can start much smaller. Maybe you want to try going for a run every day for a week. You could also target a month. As with the other goals we’ve covered, you can tailor this one to your needs.
4. Volunteer at a race
You don’t have to run a race to get involved in the racing community. There’s always a huge need for volunteers to manage aid stations, assist at the finish line, and much more. There are almost too many opportunities to name but consider Twin Cities in Motion. You can opt for a single opportunity or make it a habit.
Aside from helping put on a great event for all the racers, volunteering also provides a great way to meet fellow runners. You might even find a new workout group or buddy.
5. Discover new routes
We briefly touched on how going for a longer run can shake things up by introducing you to new routes. But you don’t need to go farther to enjoy some new sights. You could simply head to a trail you’ve been meaning to try or even just change up your neighborhood route. Frankly, running a familiar loop backward can even be fun.
What if you’re a treadmill runner? Try taking things outside to give your routine a little more variety. Studies have shown there are psychological benefits to enjoying green space, too, so that’s just another perk.
6. Injury-proof yourself
Running is a lot more enjoyable when it doesn’t result in stress fractures or tendinitis. Sadly, those types of injuries are common for many runners. This doesn’t mean getting injured is inevitable, though. There are many things you can do to keep yourself in fighting form. Some of my go-to preventive strategies are yoga, strength training, and prioritizing sleep. If you value maintaining a regular running routine, setting a goal to minimize injuries could be a great option.
These are, of course, just a handful of suggestions. You can be as creative as you’d like. Have some ideas we didn’t mention? Feel free to chime in and let us know what keeps you motivated.