Setting yourself goals when running is a brilliant way to stay motivated and make sure you build on positive habits. Unfortunately many runners are unrealistic with their goal setting and end up risking injury, or giving up in frustration! Knowing what kind of goals to set, and knowing how to see what goals are unrealistic are two of the most important factors. With this in mind, it is also natural to aim for the sky, these goals give you something to aspire towards (just not too quickly).
It is important to remember that you are less likely to achieve your goals if you don’t enjoy the process. Rather than focusing entirely on the process, make sure that you celebrate every improvement. Approaching each hurdle with a positive attitude will help no end!
Tip 1: Write down your goals
Studies have shown that you are more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Thinking about a goal is only part of the process, by writing it down it makes the thought all the more real. Write it down, reflect on it, adapt it to fit your schedule. Look at it every day to reinforce it.
Tip 2: Be Specific
If your goal is to “be a better runner”, how will you know when you have achieved it? Vague goals only discourage because you never feel any closer to the finish line. By setting a goal such as “I want to improve my time in the next marathon by 2 minutes” is specific. Use tangible words in your goals such as measurements, and maybe even a date that you will have succeeded by.
Tip 3: Measure Actions as well as Progress
As well as setting goals based on how fast you can run, or how long you can run for, consider setting goals on how often you will train, or exercise. By tracking your actions you can make sure that you are getting up and out of the house, rather than just focusing on the numbers. This approach can be very useful for tackling vague goals. Goals such as “Run for half an hour a day” is better than “Be fitter by the summer”.
Run every other day
You might say to yourself “Im going to run every day for the next month”. Don’t do it! You will wear yourself out and be less likely to pick yourself back up afterwards. Instead allow yourself a chance to build up your stamina and fitness before jumping all in.
Finish a minute faster
Instead of aiming immediately for a 6 minute mile, see how quickly you run a mile on an average day and try to speed that up each run. Every run try and finish 10-15 seconds faster than the previous. This healthy competition with yourself allows you to better your time, without being unrealistic.
If you have any tips on setting goals, let me know in the comments below!