It’s easy to get carried away and excited when setting running goals. While there is nothing wrong with dreaming big, setting an overly ambitious goal can be the quickest way to fail. With some planning, runners can keep their goals, both big and small.
Here are the best ways to set your yearly goals.
PLAN A FEW SMALL ACHIEVEMENTS
“Run the 5K before the marathon. Go to the gym twice a week before trying to go twice a day,” says John Honerkamp, CFO (Chief Fitness Officer) of J.R. Honerkamp Consulting.
These statements may be obvious, but too often, runners forget that the path to a big goal is made up of small victories. Take a moment to celebrate the little moments in training, even if it is just an increase in mileage or a successful workout. Also, there’s no runner’s code saying you must run a marathon.
“If you don’t take the time to recognize achieving those steps and setting the next goals, you can miss out on that feeling of accomplishment and feel so far from your reach goal,” said Stephanie Herrick, a USATF Level 2 and RRCA certified coach with Educated Running.
LOOK AT YOUR LIFE COMMITMENTS
Many times family, work, school or other life events may come before your training time. At times running may not be the top priority in your life — and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But you may make yourself crazy trying to fit in 20-mile runs when you simply don’t have the time. If your next few months look busy, focus on shorter races that are less time intensive, but still just as fun.
FOCUS ON GOALS THAT ARE NOT TIME- OR DISTANCE-BASED
There are ways to improve your running fitness without logging miles. Make a resolution to add one activity to your routine that can strengthen your physical or mental health.
Herrick tells her athletes to focus on tasks such as drinking more water, working on proper nutrition, foam rolling or staying positive after a tough run. All of these can help runners work towards their performance goals.
READ MORE > 31 WAYS TO A HEALTHIER YOU
“I think it helps you be committed to the process, and being committed to the process is what is going to get you the results you are looking for,” she suggests.
Also remember running isn’t everything. Some resolutions do not need to be centered on fitness. “Not all of your goals should be to fit into your favorite dress,” says Honerkamp. “Take a class that doesn’t involve sweating.”
ALLOW YOURSELF A BIG DREAM
Just because you can’t run a Boston Qualifier time or finish an ultra right now doesn’t mean you never will. Achieving your dream may take longer than a calendar year — and that’s OK. Set small resolutions this year, but keep that overall running goal in the back of your mind.
“Just give yourself the proper amount of time to get there,” says Honerkmap. “You can dream big. Just dream realistic.”