In every group of runners, there are those whose passion for the sport is so strong they need absolutely no motivation to get out there and pound the pavement. However, folks like these are the exception rather than the rule. Most of us have days when we just do not feel like lacing up the sneakers. Days when not even a sparkling running skirt would do the trick.
Experts say that one of motivational things we can do is set goals for running. Setting goals gives purpose to getting out there and running every day – above and beyond the knowledge that exercise is good for us. Setting goals is also way to push ourselves to regularly improve.
There are three things to consider for goals to be productive as motivational tools:
- Short-Term Goals – Short-term goals are necessary in order to give us some benchmarks we can reach fairly quickly and without an unreasonable amount of effort. Reaching a short-term goal motivates us to shoot for the next one.
- Long-Term Goals – We should also set some long-term goals that are harder to achieve. Why? Because the long-term goal keeps the mind focus on something distant – something that requires diligence to achieve. As an example, you might determine to eventually complete a local 10k in your brand-new sparkle running skirt.
- Reasonable Goals – Obviously, both long and short-term goals should be reasonable. What constitutes a reasonable goal might be difficult for new runners to figure out. If that’s you, don’t be afraid to talk to experienced runners who have already been there.
It helps to write your goals down in a journal or notebook. This way, you can constantly refer back to it to determine your progress. You will also gain a certain amount of satisfaction every time you cross one of the goals off your list.
Goals Based on Distance
The casual runner with no plans to race competitively might set a variety of distance goals. This is a great way to start if you are brand-new to the sport. For example, you could set three short-term goals at one, two, and three miles. It might take you a month or so to begin checking those goals off your list, but you should be able to accomplish all three within a few months’ time. A long-term goal would be a local 10k race planned for some time next year.
There are some runners who prefer to set distance goals by way of visual perception rather than calculated miles. In other words, your first short-term goal might be to cover your entire neighborhood without stopping to rest. From there you might branch out to other neighborhoods as well.
Goals Based on Time
The competitive runner is more likely to set his or her goals based on time. After all, races are measured this way. As a new runner, do not expect to run a four-minute mile 10 days from now. A good way to establish your goals is to choose a specific distance you want to run, measure your time the first time out, and then work to improve that time as you progress.
The one caution we would offer regarding time-based goals is that you do not beat yourself up comparing your time to world-class athletes. You are not likely to ever be that fast, and that’s okay.
If you are an adventurous runner who likes to be silly, we have a goal suggestion: make yourself a bold running costume that includes a sparkle running skirt. Then determine you will not wear it until you reach one of your other goals.