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Training tips: Time to set some goals

With the spring training season upon us, it's time to set and commit to some running-specific training goals to ensure you're on the path to success.

The spring season is upon us and so too is another running and racing season. After taking some time to rest, recover and hopefully reflect on the season that was, it’s time to once again look ahead to the next season of training.

RELATED: Take time to reflect and assess past training

Before you begin though, you’ll want to consider, set and commit to some training-related goals.

Goal setting is a task and skill that most runners are familiar with. Whether you want to run faster, farther or simply enjoy running more, having goals to work towards is essential for success.

If nothing else, the act of setting and committing to some goals is important. Setting goals provides direction, drive and hopefully the determination to see them through.

RELATED: On setting a variety of goals

Goals can vary from short-term — what you do today, this week, this month — to those to be achieved over a much longer period — this training season, this year, the next 5 years. They can be running-specific: “I will run four times this week, I will run 200K this month, I will do more hill workouts,” or not running-related at all: “I will eat more leafy green vegetables, I will do a strength routine once a week, I will get seven hours of sleep every night.” Goals often refer to a desired outcome or performance (“I will set a new 10K PB;” “I will run 50K this week”) but can also be about the process (“I will do more intervals at 10K pace;” “I will run on Tuesday and Thursday as well as both days on the weekend.”)

Because of the limitless nature of goals, including those related to running, it’s necessary to be as specific as possible, ensure the goal is realistic and attainable and also have a timeline in place for how the goal will be measured and met.

Setting and achieving smaller, short-term goals that in some way contribute to larger, longer-term ones is a good idea for building momentum and provides important continued motivation. For example, small changes to your diet and snacking habits may contribute to a lower body weight which then allows for better speed workouts and ultimately leads to a new distance PB.

Don’t be afraid to abandon some goals and modify others, especially when they are not achieving the desired effect. You should always be asking “What is the purpose of this goal? Is it helping me achieve my long-term goals?” As long as you are moving in the right direction and having fun along the way, you are probably on the right path.

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