With the holiday season coming to a close here soon most of us are getting ready to set some goals, and in the running world that means longer, faster and more! While most fail and don’t make it past February I wanted to share my approach and some expert advice.
Personally I set goals more than a year long (100 marathons) all the way down to monthly goals. This year I set the bar at 10% more miles than last year and also wanted to break 100 miles in one month. When setting goals I think it’s important to have both long and short-term goals. Having those small wins and being able to see yourself progress toward the ultimate goal keeps you motivated and will fend off boredom.
In the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Steven Covey writes,
Begin with the end in mind.
My ultimate reason for running are things like staying healthy, living long, and being happy. I like to envision where I’ll be in my running career in many years to come as well as at the end of the calendar year. Seeing yourself accomplish specific goals will help make that dream a reality.
Slumps and injuries happen and shouldn’t discourage us but help refocus and get back that passion we had in the first place. This summer after all the training and finishing the Eugene marathon I hit a slump and had to take a little break and refocus. Distance runs seemed like work and were no longer fun so I started running short distances trying to break my best times, and by doing that it helped me stay interested and in shape.
Another thing that really helps me out is accountability. By joining running groups, training with a friend, and letting your goals be known you have accountability. I also enjoy podcasts some of my favorites are Marathon Training Academy and Everyday Runners Podcast.
Here is how I make use of S.M.A.R.T goals”
- Specific – don’t just say I want to run more, make it specific such as a number of miles in a month or a time goal for an upcoming race.
- Measurable – create a chart or graph to see progress on your goal.
- Attainable – make sure you find goals that work with you and your schedule. Plan the necessary steps needed to make it happen.
- Realistic – look at past performance and make goals you know are realistic, don’t set out to Boston qualify if your marathon PR is 6 hours. Work your way there over time!
- Time-bound – set a solid time frame such as 1 month or year. Without concrete time frames “someday” will never happen. By setting a time frame you create a sense of urgency to get out and crush those goals!
We wont always hit our goals but I’m always reminded of the saying “if you aim for nothing you will surely hit it” I love being able to track progress and accomplish goals. Have fun along the way and share with others because it’s contagious. Your motivation and drive could help someone else get motivated and accomplish things they maybe were wishing to do.