Now that 2013 is coming to a close, I've started to think more about my running goals and target races for 2014. Setting running goals is a great way to stay motivated to run, and the start of a new year is the perfect time to think about what you want to accomplish. Here are some tips for setting attainable goals:
Choose realistic goals. Don't set yourself up for failure. Your chances of achieving your goals are much better if they're realistic. Of course, it's always fun and inspiring to dream, but try breaking your ultimate goal up into more manageable, realistic goals that could lead you to it. For example, you're not going to run a sub-25:00 5K if your current personal record is 35:00, but you can start taking steps toward getting faster.
Don't take on too much. If you have too many goals, you'll burn yourself out and may not accomplish any of them, leaving you feeling disappointed and defeated. Instead, focus on a few key goals and the steps you need to take to reach them.
Set small, attainable goals. If you have an ambitious goal, such as running your first marathon, make sure that you have smaller, attainable goals with measurable results along the way. They'll help you track your progress and prevent you from getting bored or discouraged. If your goal is to complete a half-marathon, first try to run a 10K or shoot for a personal record in the 5K. An added benefit of setting smaller, attainable goals is that even if you don't meet your ultimate goal, you'll still have achieved other accomplishments along the way.
Pick some fun goals, too. Not all your running goals have to be performance-related. Come up with some creative goals, such as running a race on a holiday, running a race for charity, or reading a book about running. Non-performance-related goals can keep you from getting totally discouraged if you get off track from your other goals.
What are your running goals for 2014?