We’ve all been there at some point, getting into something new, going into each run determined and then coming out feeling full of badassery and awesomeness! But then, you skip a run… Then you skip another and that long run you had planned? Yeah you’ll make it up tomorrow! Before you know it, you’ve fallen so far behind that you’re back to square one all over again and it can be hard to get back into the swing of things.
One of the reasons this happens is often because we set ourselves unrealistic goals. We say to ourselves that we’re all good to run 7 or 8 miles on the first training run back out there– after all, we’ve been able to run it before. Then you struggle to keep up with the distance, you have bad run after bad run and then you just throw in the towel. And why not? You’re rubbish at running, you can’t seem to find any focus in it, so really, what’s the point?
Which is exactly my point. What is your focus for running? What do you want from it? Where do you want your journey to take you?
I struggle to run without some sort of endgame. I have to have something to work towards otherwise I just lag behind, skip runs and end up glued to the sofa wondering why I’m so miserable.
So in order to stay at the top of my game, I always set myself some goals. I focus on a Short-term goal, a Mid-term goal and a Long-term goal.
Your short-term goals should be fairly easy to achieve, such as running 3 times a week or fitting in an extra work out once a week. Mine at the moment is to run at least 3 times a week and to try to beat the length of time I can run for on each outing, by a minute.
Your mid-term goals should be challenging, something that will start to push the limits of your running skills. My current mid-term goal is to increase my mileage every 4 weeks. I have 2 runs during the week, where I run a shorter distance and on Sundays I have a run which has an extra mile tagged onto the end.
Your long-term goals should be something you cannot do at the moment. This time last year I could barely run a mile and still signed up for a half marathon. That’s 13.1 miles yo! This year I’d like to run a sub 50 minute 10k, which seems a little impossible at the moment but with some training, I’ll give it my best shot. Signing up for a race is a great motivator, just make sure you tell everyone about it, then you won’t want to bail because people might think you are a bit on the silly side (granted people thought that when I told them I was running a half marathon too!).
Setting yourself these sorts of goals keep you going because you are focused on each goal as they come. I will follow my training plan (for the mid-term goal of increased mileage) whilst trying to beat my finishing time on each run (my short-term goal) and before I know it, I’ll be able to run a really speedy 10k!
What goals are you thinking of striving for?