By Peri Kowal, Coach
Sometimes you just need a change. You need a new task, or distraction, or challenge. You decide that running a marathon (or 5K or 10K or triathlon) is the way to get you out of a rut. So you jump in, and using your current fitness base you set out on the path to completing a race. Setting any other goal besides finishing is not on your mind.
Then you start your training. You attend a few classes, meet your coach, and observe and eavesdrop on others in your group. All of a sudden the training becomes more than just finishing. You’d like to have a more specific goal, or goals.
You have to hide this revelation from your friends, spouse, family. Yeah, I mean you’ve already told them you’re just doing this for the challenge/fitness/weight loss. You have no intention of beating a certain time, qualifying for another race, or finishing before your co-worker/childhood friend/grandmother. You simply want to be like NIKE and Just Do It.
Plus, there are plenty of reasons not to set goals. If you have goals, don’t they have to be measurable? And you’ve never been even so much as curious about pace charts, race results, average finish times for your age group, or Boston qualifying times. No, not you! You haven’t looked at your past races to see what percentage change would be needed to get you into the top 10%, 20%, 50%. And you certainly haven’t looked into adding nutrition or strength training that could help you feel better pre, during and post-race, right? So you have no idea how to make your goal measurable. There, took care of that one.
Since you don’t have goals, luckily you don’t have to think about them being challenging, or realistic? If they were, you would have to consider really taking a look at your starting point, evaluating your level of commitment and deciding whether you want to make a particular training interval on 800 meter repeats, beat your 10K time in a mid-point race, or finish a Cruz workout with gas in your tank.
Oh, what’s that? So now you DO want goals? Great, then give it some thought. Write a few down. Narrow your list. Make sure you’ve given yourself some slam dunks in there – maybe a mid-point goal that is certainly attainable, but will require some work. And confirm what you already knew, that you DO have some goals in mind. Now that they’re written down, TELL people. Sharing your goals will keep you honest, showing up for quality workouts, and getting in the more-difficult solo workouts that will likely occur. And you’ll WANT to tell others because your goals are positive. A step – or jog – in the right direction!
Now go set ‘em. Go get ‘em. Make your goals!
• Measurable (and at intervals throughout your training)
• Written & shared