Running goals are perfect because there is so much variety! Regardless of where you are in your running career (go ahead, call it this because you are a lifer with no clear sight of retirement) there is always a new ambition to pursue. Settling on a goal and being excited about it is the easiest part, though. The difficulty is maintaining that enthusiasm and determination, especially on the days when you are eight miles into a long run and thinking “whose idea was this?” Here are some ideas to help you stick with your plan.
- Start it after the New Year (there is no pressure to have it detailed by Jan. 1…resolutions can be made at ANY time)
- Make sure that you set a truly attainable goal. If you have never run a 5K, maybe don’t start with a 50K.
- Create multiple smaller goals that build upon each other (check with your local chapter about our Couch 2 Crazy program...beginning with a 5K training plan, you gradually build up to a half marathon over the year).
- Make it concrete. Vague goals like "run more" get you nowhere. Set a specific goal with an end date, such as "run a 5K by June" (then find a 5K in June and sign up for it...see #5).
- Commit financially. If you pay the race fee, you are more likely to follow through on the training plan.
- Track your progress, whether it's through an app, mileage log, Excel sheet, sticky notes...do your thing. Get it documented, so you can see you how much work you've invested. Check out the Run the World mileage program. It's a great tool for tracking progress and supporting the club.
- Make sure it’s something you truly WANT to do. If you’re jumping on a bandwagon, you might not keep up.
- Log miles with a buddy! It provides fun AND accountability.
- Make it fun! Running is fun…I promise. When it starts to become mundane, then you need to change up something (usually environment). This is where running resolutions are perfect, because they can help you get out of a rut.
- Make sure to cross train. Incorporate other types of cardio and strength to avoid injury and keep your motivation fresh. Some of those indoor trampoline parks offer fitness classes! How fun would that be?!?! Also, base and local gyms offer cardio/strength classes to get an all-in-one workout session. Classes not your thing? Biking, swimming, even walking are all awesome complements to running. Make sure to add in some basic strength training, as well.
- Rest. This is critical to any training plan. Rest days are necessary. This is easy to forget in the beginning when the excitement is high. However, without rest days, your body and your motivation will burn out quickly.
- Keep your thoughts on the sense of accomplishment you will feel at the end. There is nothing more euphoric than knowing that all the hard work that led up to crossing the finish line was successful.
Share your goals with us. Likely, you will inspire others to new running aspirations.