You wanna kick some goals, right?
It might be to nail a quick 5km, a new park run personal best, or achieve that first half or full marathon. Making the decision is the easy part, but not many people know where to start when preparing for goals.
No one is expecting you to have all the answers and this is where a coach can help you. However, some people don’t want to be coached for various reasons that us coaches respect, but know ultimately that eventually runners come looking for us because they experimented and didn't get the desired result or just don’t know how to make their training specific enough to improve their times.
So if you’re someone who’d like to firstly take your hand at your own program, here’s a few ideas on what to look for when making goals.
TOP 10 TIPS TO MAKING RUNNING GOALS
- Don’t make too many goals too close together.
- Master the shorter distances first (while you’re young!), before making great strides to longer distances (easier when you’re older!).
- Allow your body to adjust and adapt to training loads before stepping it up. Avoid making sudden jumps in volume. It might feel great and you’re doing well. It’s not until 3-4 weeks into your training that you’ll begin to feel the impacts of training.
- Be sure to have an “on” and “off” season, so you’re not always running at high volumes and/or intensities. This helps keep focus on unloading, recovery, strengthening and building speed.
- Is your training reflective of your goal? Example: You want to run Great China Wall Marathon. Do you have access to an extremely ascending course as your training ground? Or a stair climber? If your goal race is on hills, train on hills.
- Truly gain an understanding of what is required to achieve your goal. This includes strength training, maintenance work (release and mobility), the running itself, extra sleep, the gear and all around your commitments. Don’t overcommit early and then find yourself cutting out the important factors.
- Make these goals with your support crew. That might be with your partner or parents. Understand how your goals might impact those around you as you might be inclined to drop household duties accidentally or take out your fatigue on them.
- Don’t step up training when you have an injury. Yes, a niggle is an injury. Sort that out first.
- Use your training period to achieve some of those shorter distance goals.
- If motivation is a big factor for you, question how that might impact your goal. If you know that you often can’t drag yourself out, making your goal longer and harder may only put more strain on your motivation. Join a run club or group and check what events they are training for. Joining others can also hold you accountable to your training sessions.
Good luck on your running journey and know that there are many coaches out there who are professionals at getting you to the finish line happily!