How to Set (and Crush) Your Running Goals
Setting running goals for yourself is hard work. It can be mentally—and even physically—taxing to determine which ones make sense for your ever-changing life. Nevertheless, establishing running goals is critical to improving your performance as an endurance athlete. Without a target in sight, you can easily lose motivation and fo
Here are a few tips for setting running goals that last.
Start with your big goals
First, think about your long-term running goals. At Trail Transformation, we define these as any goal that takes more than three months to complete. So, yes, long-term running goals could be annual goals or even lifetime goals. Think of them as your big picture. For example, a long-term running goal might be to finish a marathon within the next three years.
Once you have your list of long-term running goals, write them down. Save them in a safe, easily accessible place, such as on your phone or computer. When you’re in the throes of the day-to-day or are feeling unmotivated, reviewing your long-term running goals can remind you of the bigger picture—and give you a much-needed mental boost.
Break your bigger picture into smaller steps
Now it’s time to think about your short-term running goals. These should be simple goals that can be achieved in weeks or months with proper planning, such as getting eight hours of sleep or completing a certain number of workouts each week. Your short-term running goals should serve as benchmarks to achieving your long-term ones.
To improve your short-term goal planning, establish a timeline for each goal and write down the outcomes. Doing this not only increases your likelihood of achieving your long-term goals, but can also motivate you throughout the journey.
Measure your success
The most important step in setting running goals is to constantly evaluate your progression against them. Whenever you accomplish a short- or long-term goal, take some time to reflect on how you got there. Ask yourself: What did you accomplish? What needs work? What will you do differently in the quest to achieve your next goal?
Re-evaluating running goals throughout the year can keep you from overlooking factors that can make or break your success, such as sleep, nutrition, training consistency, and stress. It’s easy to get caught up in the big picture and fail to get there because life throws unexpected hurdles in your path. The good news is, there will always be things to evaluate and improve upon—as long as you keep moving forward.
Make it happen
No matter what you want to accomplish in your endurance journey, it is important to set both long-term and short-term running goals. It’s nearly impossible to accomplish one without the other. Through consistency, hard work, planning—and constant measuring of your success—you can continue to dream bigger and bigger.