Goal Setting

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The new year, with all its new beginnings, is the perfect time to set a running or fitness goal. Set an ultimate goal as well as several smaller goals to get you there. Your ultimate goal might be to run a particular race, but before that, you must first train consistently. It can help to set some smaller, shorter-distance races as targets to test yourself along the way. Seasoned runners will tell you that the true reward comes from the training, not the race itself.

Types of Goals

Your goals can be qualitative or quantitative. A qualitative long-term goal might be to make fitness part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth; a quantitative long-term goal might be to run a specific race when your birthday takes you into a new age group.

Your annual training plan should include five kinds of goals:

  1. A daily goal to get out the door every day.
  2. A self-acceptance goal to condition yourself that daily fitness is part of your lifestyle.
  3. A performance goal, which can be either a distance goal, such as running a 10K, or a time goal, like a personal best time for a specific distance.
  4. A dedication goal to motivate you to continue training throughout the year. You may want to dedicate your training to the memory of a loved one or make a commitment to proving you can do it when others believe you cannot.
  5. A dream goal—a big race or special distance that seems just slightly out of reach but is still achievable.

The new year, with all its new beginnings, is the perfect time to set a running or fitness goal. Set an ultimate goal as well as several smaller goals to get you there. Your ultimate goal might be to run a particular race, but before that, you must first train consistently. It can help to set some smaller, shorter-distance races as targets to test yourself along the way. Seasoned runners will tell you that the true reward comes from the training, not the race itself.

If your goals are intelligent and realistic, you are more likely to succeed and avoid getting discouraged part way through your training. There is no special formula for where you should start or the rate at which you should progress, but take care not to let your newfound fitness carry you beyond improvement into overuse.

 Monitoring Your Goals

Commit to your goals by writing them down and actively reviewing your progress. Journals reinforce your daily
step-by-step advancement towards achieving the milestones you wish to reach. As you progress in your training, your short-term and long-term goals may change. Modify your goals according to your circumstances, and be sure to document these changes. When adjusting your goals, focus on aspects within your control, such as attitude
and preparation.

For some, running a certain distance without stopping is reward enough. Some runners may want to lose a certain amount of weight, while others may be focused on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Goals are personal, so don’t worry about what others are striving for. Your goal should be a way of competing with yourself.

 

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