Goal Setting


As runners, we all have goals; it could be to lose weight, run a PR, get out the door every day, or run a distance we never have before. Whatever it is that motivates us to get out the door, we all have them and what we set our sights on as possible can directly influence just how much we can achieve.

Lining Up in Northern Ireland

At the beginning of working with a runner who I am coaching. I like to have a conversation with them about their goals. Obviously knowing what someone is trying to achieve is important in getting sense of how I can help them. But the biggest thing is I want to hear and understand is what they want to accomplish (Their goal) and what they think they can accomplish. Re-read that last sentence, because those two things I just said sound the same, but they can be very different.

I need to come clean and say that I’m generally a positive person, so I believe in the best of others, in almost all situations. With that though, I do often think that most people often under shoot what they are really capable of doing. When I ask “What are the goals that you have for the next 3 months, 6 months, year?” I often get an answer. I then ask, what do you think you can do? The answer I get is often a much bigger ask of themselves than their goal.

Scoring a W for North Central

I often think people choose a goal that they are certain they can hit, if they follow the plan. I encourage those runners though to think bigger though. Let me give this example: If you're training to hit a Boston Qualifier (A BQ). Then you'll give an effort to hit a BQ every day in workouts and in choices you make. But if you aim high to what you think you could do on a perfect day, say you want to get under 3:30 for the marathon, then you'll train with that dedication every day. My point is that thinking big and expecting big things can only help. Will it work out every time? No, and that’s totally ok! But most of us play it safe with our goals, which means we aren’t asking as much from ourselves as we are truly capable and setting limits on ourselves.

Creating a Gap on the Road

This is the biggest “secret” I think elite runners have. They aren’t afraid to ask for big things back and dream a little, for the work they are putting in. They ask the most out of themselves because elite runners, like anyone else, don’t want to sell themselves short.