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time and distance
setting goals
marathons
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runners
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How To Set Running Goals
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How to Set Running Goals

If I asked you what goals you had set for your career, education or future in general, you would probably easily be able to list off a few of them. Some might be reasonable and obtainable for you and some might be these sort of "dream" goals that you hope to achieve one day. However, the fact that you actually have set goals at all shows that you are interested in achieving them, even if it would take years to accomplish.

If you are interested in running, setting goals is just as important as any other area of your life. They allow you to truly find what you want to accomplish through running and will help motivate you when you're feeling discouraged. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out what goals you should set for yourself. I've found that setting distance and time goals are a very good way to not only keep track of your progress, but to motivate myself to push a bit harder when I'm feeling like it's time to quit.

Distance Goals

If you are planning on training for marathons or longer races, then distance goals would definitely be an ideal choice. I would also recommend setting a distance goal as a beginner for several reasons. One of the main reasons I feel it's especially important for beginners to set distance goals is to get over the mindset of "I can't run very far". When somebody first starts running, especially if they are out of shape, it can be a very big challenge to even run 1 mile. If you were to set a goal of just running 1 mile without stopping, it would allow you to focus on distance but has the added effect of keeping you out running or walking to achieve it.

Time Goals

Another "type" of goal I would recommend setting for runners, especially beginners, is time. Time in this case would refer to how long you spend running without stopping for that day. I feel that time and distance goals complement each other very well when just starting out. By focusing on distance milestones and time, you tend to push yourself a bit harder then if you were to only have one goal.

To clarify, I'll give you an example.

Lets say you are a beginner and have set a distance goal of running 1 mile and a time goal to run for 10 minutes without stopping. In my situation, I was averaging a 15 minute mile with running and walking. When I finally ran 1 mile, it was at about a 11 minute pace which also satisfied my time goal of running 10 minutes straight. By setting both a time and distance goal, I was super motivated to achieve both of them and I pushed myself super hard to do so.

Why You Should Set Goals

I've already touched a little bit on why goals are important to have for anything in your life. However, I'd like to reiterate why I feel they are so important for runners. Beginners often get discouraged or demotivated when there is a lack of results. By setting small, realistic and achievable goals, you set yourself up for success. If you know that you CAN and WILL achieve your goals, then there's a really good chance that you'll keep yourself motivated to keep running. This goal setting "strategy" can also work with other things as well but I've found it extremely helpful in regards to running.

When it's all said and done, it's up to you to get out and JUST DO IT! By setting realistic time and distance goals, you will find yourself more motivated then ever to go out and run. Then, once you've become accustomed to running, you can scale your goals appropriately. Depending on the progress you are making, you can even set higher goals like competing in a 5k or running a marathon. In the end, setting goals is extremely important in keeping yourself motivated and eager to run.


Street Talk

This is a great article! i actually just wrote about setting goals also. if you do not set reasonable goals, you will probably always feel discouraged from not being able to meet them. totally agree!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Good ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

Not a problem, it was my pleasure.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Great article Irksy, for those who are young enough to do it, great advise .....

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

Thank you!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
AJ  

Love the article. I'm an on again off again runner. I stopped recently because my active asthma made it very difficult to run in the humidity. I tried early morning and late at night. Temperature was better, but humidity was still in the air and I couldn't breath. I think I'm more of a fall runner, so I'm looking forward to starting again in September. Thanks for reminding me to put my goals together and get moving!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

I'm glad you are still trying despite your asthma, very commendable. A lot of people would just give up. As long as you find what works for you and enjoy it, more power to you!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

AJ - caffeine helps. I learned from a friend. I got asthma back after the swine flu zapped me followed by repeated lung infections. If you're a coffee drinker try your exercise right after a big chunk of it. I didn't inhale any steroids in 2012 - and now that pollens are down I'm off caffeine again. too.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
AJ  

Cynthia, I didn't know my morning coffee routine would help my asthma. I'll need to give that a try before my next run!

  
  about 1 decade ago

Nice article, goals are important in any walk of life, keeps us motivated.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
  

I agree. Sometimes it can be hard to choose where you want to go but I've found as long as you start small, it can lead to big changes.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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