Can you believe that another year is in the books?
As a runner, you’re probably familiar with setting goals for yourself. Whether that’s beating your PR in the next half marathon you run, improving your distance in your training runs, or refining your technique, setting goals is part of the routine.
The New Year is time where many of us set resolutions, but unfortunately, we don’t often stick with them (check out these sad stats on new year’s resolutions and how we don’t actually follow through). This New Year though, can be the time where you shift your thinking about goals and resolutions. Once you have a clear understanding of some key goal setting principles (and how to apply them), you give yourself a much better chance of accomplishing what you want to.
Check out these 7 Tips to Reach Your Goals this Year:
Reflect. The end of the year is a natural time for reflection, but start your goal setting this way any time of year. Take the time to think about (and write down if you’d like) both what you accomplished this year, and areas you might like to improve. You can do this specific to your running, but also other areas, such as work or your personal life. Don’t censor yourself, and don’t forget the positives. Sometimes we’re too hard on ourselves and only look at where we want to improve.
Celebrate. Take a harder look at those improvements and accomplishments. Maybe you PR’d, or ended up in the top 3 of your age division. Perhaps you ran your first 10K after doing 5Ks for a while. This might have been the year your fitness improved, which you know because you’ve shaved 30 seconds off your mile time. Congratulate yourself for what you’ve accomplished!
Plan your long-term goals. Thinking ahead to 2018, what do you want to accomplish? Think both about outcome goals (that compare your performance to someone else, such as being in the top 10 in your age group), as well as performance goals (which are based on your own performance, such as dropping your PR by 10 seconds). The time-frame is up to you. Maybe you want to qualify for the Boston marathon by September, or perhaps you want to beat your PR by May. Both are long-term goals. The timing is up to you and what you want to accomplish. Be clear on the timeline for your goals.
Support your long-term goals with short-term goals. Once you know what you want to accomplish, and when, think about the short-term goals or the milestones you need to hit to get there. For example, if your goal is qualifying for Boston with a 4 hour finish, and you’re currently running a 4:15:00, then you might say that you want to be at a 4:10:00 by March and a 4:05:00 by June. That way you’re on track to qualify by September and reach your goal.
Plan daily goals to reach the short-term goals. You don’t have to be working every day toward your goal, but do think of what you need to be doing to help you reach your goal. For example, if you need to cut time, how will you do that? What distances do you need to run? What splits do you need to hit? What’s your training plan (including nutrition, rest, and cross training). Essentially, what are the strategies you’ll need to take to reach your goals? If you’re not sure, this might be a good time to work with a coach.
Be prepared to adjust. Even with the best-laid plans, life happens. You might develop shin splints, your town gets some bad weather and gets in the way of your training, or you might even make progress quicker than you expected! Even though you’ve set your goals, they can change if needed. If you get stuck, or stop making progress, it’s better to adjust your goals than to give up. Or, if you’re doing better than you expected, adjust to challenge yourself.
Get support. It might feel scary to let others in on your goals, especially if they’re big ones. But, support can be a great way to help you stay on track and push through any challenges. Maybe you run once a week with a training partner, you hire a running coach, or you join a Facebook group of fellow runners (like RunSmart’s private group), having support from others can help you keep going when you feel like stopping.
The New Year is a great time to set goals, but these seven tips for accomplishing your goals can be used at any time of year in any domain that you want to accomplish something. With these goal setting strategies, you’re giving yourself the ability to set stronger goals and have a better chance of accomplishing them in 2018 and beyond!
Need help creating a customized training plan in 2018 that is tailored to your fitness level, goals and even your environment? Check out RunSmart’s training plan builder here.