As runners, we have the tendency to focus on goals that are race or time specific. Tell anyone you’re a runner and oftentimes, the first question is how many marathons you have run, how fast you can do each distance or the classic: “What’s the longest distance you’ve ever run?” The problem with these reactions is that for may runners, the activity serves an entirely different purpose. Some runners just don’t focus on the time so much. Some don’t race at all! For the runners who fall into this category, goal setting isn’t out of the question. If you need a surge of motivation this fall, pick a goal. Need some inspiration? These suggestions have nothing to do with race bibs or PBs.
Distance. So you finally managed to get to your fitness level to the point where you can run non-stop with ease. Now that you’ve established a base, perhaps the goal can be pushing to run longer distances. If your usual is five to eight kilometres, slowly push it up. Set a goal. Say you want to run 15K for example, slowly build on what you already have to eventually work your way up. Achieving a distance goal is to some runners what knocking a minute off an old PB is to other runners. You will feel so accomplished.
Diligence. This is a solid goal choice for the runner who is new to the sport or who is getting back into it. We all have ruts. Everyone has experienced a time when motivation dips. Suddenly, a day off turns into three, four and then before you know it, it becomes weeks or months since you last ran. Setting a goal to keep running diligently sounds like a very simple goal, however running consistently is the foundation of being a good runner. If this goal matches where you are with your running right now, it’s a wise one to work to achieve.
Getting involved in the community. Yes this is a very broad statement. It’s a good goal because of how rewarding it is and “getting involved in the community” can mean a variety of things depending on your viewpoint. Maybe getting involved means doing more research on how other runners approach the sport. It might mean finally joining that club or maybe it means dropping by to the local races to participate in that scene.
Transforming lifestyle choices. Many runners have been here. This is a great goal especially for those who took up running to begin a healthier lifestyle approach in the first place. That could mean quitting an addiction, running to lose weight, or running to better one’s mental health, etc. While this goal might be vague, runners who set this goal can define it more specifically by deciding what kind of progress they want to see and the timeline when that should happen. This also applies to the runner who lives FAIRLY healthy but maybe wants to bump their nutrition up a couple notches.
Stepping onto the track. Never done a workout on the track? This is a great goal. Research a workout you’d find appealing, consult your schedule to find a time when it’s best to fit in a heavy workout and head to the track. Take advantage of the fall weather and do a track workout before winter weather has runners moving indoors.
Exploring new places and having fun with running. A runner who is neither a newbie nor overly interested in racing might like to focus on something like this. Many running goals emphasize either the ABCs of getting in shape or cutting down the race times. What about the runners who just aren’t that interested in racing but are already fit as a fiddle? We know you’re out there. Make a list of areas you’d like to explore and visit them on the run one by one. The great thing about being in shape is that you can run for a long enough time period to enjoy the views and not be winded while doing so.