Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Especially your running goals. They're worth the miles, the soreness, the pain, and the learning process you will go through in your attempt to achieve them.
Some will tell you not to set your goals in life too high, as you might never achieve them. To an extent we would have to agree. Set realistic expectations. Not everyone can run sub 15 minutes in the 5k and that's okay. Not everyone is cut out to be a brain surgeon - and that's REALLY okay. Not everyone can go sub 3 in the marathon and that's okay too. But - why not push yourself a little in the goals you set both in life and in running? Make them realistic, but not so simple that you barely have to work. Additionally, give yourself time to accomplish the goal. Progress takes time, so don't expect HUGE results in a few weeks. For example, in 6 months, you can increase your speed in short distances between 1-3%. So - it's going to take time. Work hard, stay healthy, train efficiently, and most importantly, trust yourself and the process.
There's more to setting a realistic race/running goal than simply picking a time. Not only should you focus on the goal, but you need to focus on the process too. If you are 2:30 half marathon runner and you want to run 2:15, what process is going to help you achieve that goal? If you are a 22:00 5k runner and you want to go sub 20, what workouts and cross training activities do you need to be doing to reach that goal? Focus on what steps you need to take each week to improve to reach that goal. This will help the goal seem more attainable. No week is perfect. Life happens and that is okay. That's what makes life enjoyable - the journey and the process. Don't let one poor week derail you or set you back. Pick up where you need to and keep going.
Think about what you need to be doing to achieve your goals. If you want to run a marathon and your longest run to date is 12 miles, you'll need to work on slowly increasing your mileage so you're able to complete 26.2 on race day. If you want to drop 3 minutes off your 5k time, you'll need to start incorporating more speed work that is focused on shorter races and you'll need to pick up the pace during your daily runs. Maybe your goal is to simply run the whole 5k. You know that you need to increase your run intervals and decrease your walk intervals as you train until you can comfortably run at least 3 miles (hopefully more). Each running goal you set, no matter how insignificant it may seem in the grand scheme of things, is worthy of your time. So, put in the work and do what you need to do. Everyone is different, and our bodies respond differently to different types of training. For example, some people respond well to the taper week before a long race, while others do not and end up getting hurt. You have to learn what works for you and go from there. Again, it's all part of the process.
Take nutrition into consideration as well. For example, if you have weight (fat, not muscle) to lose, you will likely be able to increase your speed as you lose the weight. If you don't have weight to lose, good for you (you are now welcome to eat a cookie). When you eat clean, you feel better. The better you feel, the more likely you will be to lace up your shoes and head out the door or try a new cross training class.
You already know running is mental. So expressing your goals and really honing in on them is key. Approximately 75% of runners set very broad, generic goals, and most of them aren't quite sure why the goal is important to them. Many say "Well, I decided I wanted to go sub-2 in the half because my friends are doing that" or "I think I want to do a 5k because it seems like everyone is doing them so I want to do one too." When you are able to directly clarify why you want to reach your goal, you will have a better chance of reaching that goal, and you will want to put in the work it takes to reach it. Do it for you.
If you are having a hard time setting your goals, take a minute and think about/write down the answers to these things:
Take a couple of days and then come back to what you wrote down. How can you apply what you wrote down above to your running and your life? How can you achieve an attitude of success in running and in life from the way you view yourself? How can you accomplish your goals? Here are a few examples:
These goals are not only applicable to your running, but to your life. It will help you see how running can make a difference in all areas of your life.
Now it's time to take a look at your life and your performance. These are the BIG goals. What is that ONE big thing you want from running? Maybe you don't know yet. That's ok. Remember, these goals may take time.
But, don't forget about your smaller goals you wrote down above. These are just as important. They help you reach the big goals but they're impressive and significant in their own right.
Then, take this even one step further. Look at the small short term goals that will help you reach the bigger goals. These goals can include other things in your life that assist with your overall well being.
Make sure you are continuously working toward and reevaluating your goals. This will help you see if you have set something that is unattainable, or if you simply are slacking on the goals you have set.
You all are talented runners and work very hard. Hopefully this will help you in setting your goals for running/racing. Keep working hard. We love seeing you at 5am on Wednesdays. You have a great attitude - keep it up and you'll see the results you want. Of course, don't hesitate to ask us if you have questions about the goals you have set for yourself. We are always happy to help.
Happy Running and Happy Thursday.
Who Picks the Topics?
Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!