We as runners never really sit still. Literally and figuratively. We’re always onto the next big goal, the next big challenge, the next big race or race distance or PB. Combine this with the end of the year and the prospect of creating a whole year of new goals, achieving new times and checking out new races and it’s safe to say that year end is a runner’s dream.
But what if you’re on the opposite side, and you feel like you just don’t seem to be achieving your running goals? You feel like you are falling short of the times you want and the race finishes you want and that instead of getting better, your performance is falling and failing you? It can be enough to make you not want to set any goals at all, or worse yet, make you lose motivation and not really want to run at all.
Well here’s the thing: maybe it’s not necessarily your performance, or your races, and rather the goals you are setting, how you are setting them and how you are measuring them. This year, set yourself up for success: learn how to choose and formulate measurable goals that will bring you the results you want for the year to come. Here’s what you need to know:
- Know where you are starting – Be reasonable with what you are expecting of yourself based on where you are when you start. For example, if you are just starting out running, a marathon in February may not be reasonable. But a fall marathon in September or October, would definitely be doable. Likewise, if you currently have a half marathon time of around 1:50, going for a sub 1:30 by March may be a bit hefty. Making unreasonable goals like this is simply setting you up for failure and disappointment, and may be a contributing factor to why in the past, you have felt like you have been unsuccessful at achieving your goals.
- Make them measurable – The best part about setting goals is achieving them, and feeling that sense of accomplishment when you know you have done it. So make sure you set a goal that you will know you have accomplished! Don’t just say “my goal is to run better;” define better. Is it to run a certain pace, run a certain race time, run a certain number of days? Maybe it is to complete a marathon, or complete a half marathon. Whatever it is, make it so that you know when you have completed it and you can check it off with certainty and pride!
- Set a reasonable timeline – We’re all impatient: I’m impatient and want to be in triathlon shape by the date of a race in February, and one of my client’s is impatient and wants to be running 5km only after starting out running a couple of weeks ago. But given that I just started road riding last month, and have done hardly any swimming, a triathlon in February is unreasonable (although I have the running part down pat!). Don’t let your impatience get in the way of your goals and your success: think about how long is reasonable for you to get to where you want to be and stick to that timeline. Making it shorter than that will simply make it harder for you to get there.
- Write them down in first person – One of the most important things you can do to help you with achieving your goals is to write them down and put them in a place where you see them regularly. It keeps them top of mind, and when others see them written down, they ask you about them and it makes you feel like you are accountable to more than yourself. More than that though, write them down in first person. For example, instead of writing “set a new half marathon PR,” write “I run a half marathon PR in March 2017.” As you repeat this goal to yourself over the next few months, the visualization of you doing this on this date, will be a key player in your success.
Not sure where to start, how to choose a measurable goal is, or what your timeline should be? Book in for a coaching session and set your running goals for 2017 so you can be on your way to success!