For many, this time of year is a goal setting extravaganza. It’s fun to see someone running farther, faster, and formally setting goals to meet that vision.
Goals can, and should be, set in all parts of life, and at all times of year, but for now, we’ll focus on healthy fitness habits in the season to come.
Ideas for goals might come out of frustration, like at the end of a disappointing race. Sometimes they hatch out of inspiration, like after finishing an epic training run on a perfect, fall day. Many will spur from a group event, like when the walking club decides to run their first 5K.
Regardless of how the idea develops, it’s what you do with it that creates a goal.
For starters, consider the significance of the goal and clearly state it to yourself. For some that will be to run the entire 5K distance. For others it will be to break 6:00 minute miles in the 5K. Here, we have a clear goal. But, for some it might start out as ‘getting back to running regularly’, which stated that way is not specific enough. My suggested edit is: ‘I’m going to run an average of 4 days a week for the next 3 months,’ and now it has become specific.
Goals That Are Specific Are Measurable
When it comes to goals, there are no vagaries allowed. Goals should have deadlines built into them that will vary from case-to-case. Three months is an acceptable standard in many situations, but might not be in every runner’s case. By the end of the season, might be appropriate depending on how far you are from your goal when you set it.
Think Carefully About Your Goal
Is it tough enough to matter, but also reasonably achievable? It should be a little bit scary, but something that’s exciting to think about. ‘Can I really run that fast? Or that far? Oh but I would love to!’ A goal should not depend on anything out of your control, so steer away from reaching toward winning a competition, as that depends on the competition.
Write Down Your Goals and Be VERY Specific
Post your goal on your refrigerator. Create a screensaver for your device so you see it a million times a day. Write it on sticky notes for your bathroom mirror. Whatever works for you, just don’t let yourself go through a day without revisiting your goal.
Talk About Your Goal
Recruit your friends and family as living sticky notes, coaching them on the need to ask you about your progress at regular intervals. There is nothing like peer pressure! You’ll want to have positive responses to their queries.
The guts of the goal is the ‘how’. How are you going to go about working toward this vision of your future self?
Here Are Some Ideas to Get The Goal Setting Process Started:
- Join a running group or commit to following an online training schedule. You may even enlist a personal coach.
- Team Playmakers Kicks off January 5th (Any Distance, Any Pace / Triathlon) and January 12th (Men’s & Women’s Training Teams)
- Consider entering area races as a way to track progress. In fact, winning points for age group or participation awards can be a bonus as you work toward your own goal. Check out the Greater Lansing Area Race Series for more information!
- Create a calendar just for your goal, mapping out where you’ll start, how you plan to progress, and a deadline by which you want to have met this goal. Be creative, get ambitious, feel excited. Gather your support group, map out your plan and go for it!
Once you’ve reached your goals, how do you reward yourself? By setting another one, of course! Treat yourself to the feeling of a job well done!
Best of luck and Happy New Years to you all! See you at the races.