Why You Should Have a Goal...or Two!

Setting goals will help you get the most out of your training. You should have a goal for each workout, which can be as simple as an escape from life or as specific as hitting certain paces during intervals. But more importantly, you should also have longer-term goals that you work towards with each workout. My advice for these longer-term goals: have 2 goals - an ambitious one and a more achievable one!

Your ambitious goal could be a certain time or distance goal. Your achievable goal could be a more realistic time or just to finish! Having 2 goals allows you to manage uncontrollable factors that make your ambitious one nearly impossible so you can still hit that achievable one.

There is ample research by psychologist Edwin Locke that goal-setting increases motivation and improves performance. More specific and ambitious goals (sub 4 hour marathon) leads to more performance improvement than easy or general goals ("try your best") do. Your short-term goals give you the opportunity for immediate reinforcement and feedback whereas long-term goals provide an outcome for you to work for.

My contrarian advice with your goals is also to embrace the power of negative thoughts and anticipate obstacles from having a bad day or brutally hot weather. Plan ways around these obstacles ahead of time so when they come at you, and they certainly will, you'll be ready!

Finally, find a way to share your goals. At Mile High Run Club, I encourage our runners to put their goals out into the universe and write them on the wall. Tell your goals to your coach, your friend, or your pet, so you can be held accountable and barked at!

My ambitious goal is to run back-to-back sub 3 hour marathons in a single weekend. I came close a few years ago, breaking 3 on Saturday but finishing a few minutes over on Sunday. I may try again this September but the races I'm considering are both hilly! My realistic goal is to run a Boston Qualifying time minus 5 minutes at least once each year. Although these are both time goals, I make sure to set other goals at the start of the year too.

What are your goals? Let me know so I can help you achieve them!