An Article by Mary Cullen
Keeping Motivated with Goals
I think one of the best things a runner can do ( seasoned or beginner ) is to set goals.
As a runner I always find it helpful and motivating to have a target to reach or a set goal to achieve. Firstly, it keeps you accountable to yourself when you have your short, medium and long term goals noted and laid out in front of you. It keeps you motivated and determined to keep on track (excuse the pun). In my opinion it makes training a lot more fun when you have a goal in mind.
Goals should be attainable, and challenging. Not too easy, and not so difficult that it will demoralise you.
Know Your Body to Set Your Goals
Depending where you are in terms of running & fitness will determine the goal you want to set. It could be to run for 10 mins straight with no walk breaks, to complete a 5k in 8-12 weeks, or it could be to run a personal best in your chosen race. It doesn’t really matter.
Mark Your Calendar and Challenge Yourself
When I was preparing for a 5k in my racing calendar I would note the date which would usually land in the months between May and July, it would be a race where I would target a qualifying time for an upcoming championship such as the Europeans or Worlds. I would have my winter block of training completed which would have consisted of higher mileage weeks of 75-85 miles. As the goal race drew closer my mileage amount would decrease and more specific sessions would take place (this also falls under the goal/milestone setting of a long term goal).
Running interval sessions were the icing on the cake leading into the goal race. Sessions like 6 x 1k (in 3 minutes) off of 2 mins recovery. Also check in points between goal markers such as a 5-6 mile tempo run would give great feedback and show if I was on pace to hit my goal race. These are just examples for my personal goals and how the thought process behind setting goals but can be applicable to all levels if they are adjusted to ones goals.
It really is about consistency and sticking with it. Inch by inch. One session does not make or break a goal, it’s consistent running week after week and taking a look back at where you have come from and if seeing you are on track (sorry about the pun, again).
Mary Cullen – Athlete and Strength & Conditioning Coach