Health & Beauty | 16 October 2015Be a Better Runner: 7 Principles to Goal Setting Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Do you know where you’d like to end up with your running, but aren’t quite sure how to get there? It’s all about goal setting, which sounds easy, but choosing an attainable goal can be a bit tricky. Make your running successful with these seven goal setting principles from Be a Better Runner. I believe there are seven principles to goal setting that you must follow to make your running successful. Make Your Goal Challenging But Doable Set too high a goal and you will crash and burn. Set too low a goal and you’ll get bored. To get the most benefit from running for your body and your mind, don’t tell yourself you need to run a 4:30 mile or a twenty-nineminute 10K. You need a challenging but realistic goal. Attach Before and After Numbers to Your Goal There is no greater motivation to you as a runner and athlete than seeing progress, but you must know where you started and how far you have to go—and ultimately how far you have come. Before you start your running program, weigh yourself, and measure your waist, thigh, upper arm, resting heart rate, blood pressure, even cholesterol level, and write these figures down. Then write down where you want to be in three, six, nine, and twelve months. Do not alter these numbers unless it appears clear that dedicated training leads to significantly greater or lesser results. Stay Away from Vague Non-measurable Running Goals Keep your goals hard numbers, because you can’t argue with those—unlike murky, eye-of-the-beholder goals such as “feel better about myself,” “have a better social life,” and “make my family proud of me.” All those things will happen if you meet or exceed your numbers. Be Patient If you are new to training, be aware that your body needs time to adapt. Training will be new, fatiguing, and sometimes even painful for your body. Don’t risk injury; an early injury can force newbies to give up training altogether. Many coaches say to baby yourself for at least the first month of new training. If You’re Experienced, Push it when Your Body is Ready Keep in mind that the large leaps in improvement that occur for newcomers are not sustainable, as they come on top of a very low base, and that if veterans still want to improve, they have to kick it up a notch. The fitter that you are when the program starts, the less you will improve in absolute terms. Don’t be afraid of fartlek and interval training, at least once or twice per week; veteran runners have proven these methods effective. Aim for Several Mutually Supportive Long-Term and Short-Term Goals Internal goals support external goals. Short-term goals (such as running in 5K or 10K races) support long-terms goals (such as running a marathon or half-marathon). They also give you a good gauge of how your performance is progressing. • Long-term running goals: Year, multiyear, or life-long commitments that might range from nonspecific goals such as “I want to exercise four days a week with my friends and have fun” to specific accomplishments and ultimate running dreams—such as running a marathon in under 4:30 before you turn forty-five, running fifty marathons by age fifty, running a 10K in less than forty-five minutes, running the New York City Marathon in four hours, and qualifying for next year’s Boston Marathon. • Short-term running goals: Thirty- to ninety-day goals, often in sequence, that build you up to your long-term goal like stairsteps: a 5K in March, a 10K in April, a faster 10K in May, a half-marathon in June, a faster half in August. Each event builds you up for the next step, providing you with relentless motivation and excitement as you progress. Differentiate Between External and Internal Goals Internal goals are intrinsic, from-the-heart, how-you-feel-about-yourself goals. Do you need more challenge in your life? More achievement? Are you looking for more meaning? A more well-rounded lifestyle? Is there an inner you that hasn’t yet been expressed, like an inner athlete or an inner child? Is there unfinished athletic business in your life? You have to ask yourself what kind of running, what distance events, what running achievements will help you satisfy your internal goals. External goals, on the other hand, are visually focused, aesthetic objectives such as attaining a beautiful body, getting flat abs, and losing weight. These surface-oriented goals can provide powerful initial motivation, but they come with a caveat: They often don’t have the depth to withstand the test of time. Surface imagery is inherently weak motivation, subject to whimsy and temptation. Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: Written by marathoner and Triathlon Hall of Fame inductee, Sally Edwards, Be A Better Runner addresses every possible concern from posture and form to nutrition, footwear and race strategy. You’ll learn how to adapt running mechanics such as stride and pacing to your body type and fitness level while specific training regimens prepare you for any type of running event including sprints, distance runs, and marathons. Co-authored with Carl Foster, the former President of the American College of Sports Medicine, Be A Better Runner Every features the latest research in the science of running. You’ll learn the latest strategies to boost your performance, train more effectively, and aid post-workout recovery. The latest research on special concerns such as running after age 40, during pregnancy, overtraining in younger runners and preventing amenorrhoea in female distance runners is also highlighted. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.