Even though there are some people who do not believe in goals, for many others, having a goal gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Goals are not just for the elite professional runners but also for the beginner and intermediate runners as well. There are many different reasons why people run, such as to lose weight, for medical reasons, to impress someone, to have something a family can do together, to get back in fair shape because they once were a competitive runner and to be the best in the world at the distance they choose. Running has become a worldly event and has no stereo types. It cost very little to run and now a days they have made road racing a social event.
Just for a moment think about why you run or have taken up running. What is the end result you want to accomplish? This is basically the beginning of a goal. I read a book written by Zig Ziglar, a motivational speaker and sales expert, in which he described a goal. He talked about a great archer who could not only hit a bullseye but also shoot an arrow through another arrow he just shot. Now if you take this same archer and blind folded him, spun him around several times and then ask him to hit the bullseye, most likely he couldn’t do it. You might ask, “How can this archer hit the bullseye he can’t see”? And I ask, “How can you hit a running goal you don’t really have”?
Your running goals should be personal to you. It’s okay to share them if it motivates you or gives you a sense of accountability. You know what your obstacles are more than anyone else. You may have a physical or mental issue, you may have never run before or you may just be content to be a jogger. Wherever you are right now is a perfect time to set a running goal.
The most important aspect of achieving a goal is to have a goal. Here are the following steps to successfully achieve a running goal.
Make it a bigger running goal than you first initially thought of having
Set a time limit to when you will achieve this running goal
Break down your big running goal into smaller more achievable running goals
Write down your running goals and look at them daily
Be Flexible when obtaining your running goals
Pat yourself on the back every time you achieve one of your smaller running goals.
Reward yourself when you finally achieve your main running goal.
Let’s break this down.
Make it a bigger running goal than you first initially thought of having. It is so easy to set a running goal that you really know you can obtain in a short period of time. It will give you no satisfaction and you may easily find yourself not working on it because you lose interest. The exciting thing about a hard to reach running goal is to not know if you can achieve it or not, but to have the drive and determination to try and achieve it anyways. There have been countless of stories of runners achieving victories that many other people thought would never happen. Billy Mills is one of the best examples. Who’d ever thought he would win the 10,000 meters in the Olympics or even place?
Having a hard to reach running goal gives you purpose. It gives you something to look forward to and it is a lot of fun.
Set a time limit to when you will achieve this running goal. Running goals need time limits. It doesn’t mean it’s over if you don’t achieve it but rather it’s an ongoing process and one that can be slightly changed. When you set a time limit such as a certain race date, holiday or event it gives you the focus you need to keep on your running schedule in order to achieve it. Your time limit must be realistic to a certain extent. If you are a 7-minute miler and think in 1-week you will be a 5-minute miler, then that is not realistic. If you set a time limit of 3-months to drop your running pace time from 7-minutes to 6:30 race pace, then that is a better way to set and achieve a running goal with a time limit.
Break down your big running goal into smaller more achievable running goals. When you have a running goal in mind and made it larger than you would expect to achieve, then it’s time to break it down to smaller more achievable goals. When you achieve smaller running goals on your way to your bigger running goal it gives you a sense of accomplishment and will give you more determination to keep going forward. Here is an example.
Big Running Goal – Run a Half Marathon in 8 months.
Situation – Never ran before
Smaller Goals – Run / Walk 1 mile for the first week, Run / Walk 2 miles for the 2nd week, Run 2 miles without walking in the 3rd week, Run / Walk 3-4 miles for the 4th week, sign up for and Run / Walk a 5K road race. Sign up for and Run / Walk a 10K race, Ect.
Because every runner knows what level they are at, their running goals need to be conformed to them personally. The point is to make out smaller more attainable running goals on your way to your larger running goal.
Write down your running goals and look at them daily. Think about the time you wanted to buy something but did not have the money for it. You also did not want to put it on your credit card. Every day you seem to be thinking about it and visualize getting it. Before you know it, you end up owning it.
This is what happens when you look at your running goals daily. When you write your running goals down you commit to it. Every time you look at your running goals you visualize obtaining it. Writing down and looking at your running goals will steer you towards obtaining your running goals more quickly.
Be flexible when obtaining your running goals. I can sum this up with one word….”LIFE”. Life happens. Rain, snow, sickness, injuries, work, school and whatever life throws at you. If you are not flexible it will be very hard to reach any of the running goals you may have. Flexibility is key. Sometimes you have to change your actual running goal list. You may find yourself improving at a faster or slower rate so being flexible will help you to stay on track to reaching your main running goal.
Pat yourself on the back every time you achieve one of your smaller running goals. Even though most of us do not look for the pat on the back, when we get one, it feels good. This is part of us being human. The same thing goes for your smaller running goals. You need to pat yourself on the back and say, “Good Job”. A pat on the back can be verbal but to do something like treating yourself to a lunch, t-shirt, new shoes or a weekend trip to the beach is much more rewarding. These pats can keep you inspired to go eagerly to the next smaller running goal you have listed.
Reward yourself when you finally achieve your main running goal. This reward should not be small like the ones where you pat yourself on the back. A reward to reaching your main running goal should be like a trip to a different city to run a particular road race, spending the night at a nice hotel and possibly bringing your family or a friend. It can also be like buying a treadmill for rainy days, a new outfit from head to toe. It needs to be a REWARD.
Making running goals are fun and a must have to anyone who is serious about running. It is not just for the professional runners but for anyone who is currently running or taking up running for the first time. By following these tips you will be on your way to successfully achieving your running goals.