13 Realistic Running Goal Suggestions For Beginners.
If you’re just starting out as a runner then you don’t have to create huge, unattainable goals though to benefit from becoming goal orientated.
Here are some ideas and suggestions for setting yourself meaningful targets that will help you move forward.
- Run to move forward from who you were in the past – This might sound obvious but jogging is a useful means to move forward not just literally, but from your past self. My goal is to never to return to where I was when I was like this.
- Run a certain distance without stopping – First of all find out how far you can run now and based upon that create a realistic goal. If you can only run 100m now, try to run a kilometer by the end of June. Don’t focus on the 1km distance if it seems like too far now. Concentrate on running 250m by the end of next week and work on running 125-150m on your next run.
- Run to lose a certain amount of weight in a time period – My initial goal when I started running on the treadmill was to get below 210lbs in December 2010 after starting the month at 215lbs. It worked perfectly at the time but ever since then I’ve found it more difficult to lose weight with running. I’m not sure if this is to do with muscle gain or not but it isn’t working as well as it did to start with.
- Run a number days in a row – Instead of declaring that you will run every day for the rest of your life, be more realistic and set out to run 7 days in a row and take it from there. It’s important to break your goal up into subsets of mini-goals. That way you’ll be inspired as you break your own goals as you go on.
- Run your fastest ever mile – This is a perfect goal if you’re just starting out with running as you’ll have no previous bests to consider. If you want to keep on running you need to make it into a habit and to do that you have to enjoy it. There’s nothing better than smashing your old best times to motivate you!
- Aim to complete a race – If this is your first time competing in a long distance race such as a 10k/half marathon or marathon, then it pays to be realistic about your expectations going into race day. It’s natural to set yourself a target finish time as you need to have a pace to start out at but unless you’ve ran the distance before hand, it’s difficult to know what to expect towards the end of the race. There is no shame in setting a goal of completing the distance. Once you’ve completed the distance you can aim to improve upon your time on your next run.
- Aim to complete a certain number of races in a time frame – This works better as part of longer term goal and can be used in conjunction with smaller goals to give yourself a framework to work towards. For example in 2011 I set myself the goal of running 5 marathons before I was 30. I was 27 at the time and had only just completed my 1st. I knew that in order to complete my goal I had to keep running and to enter more half marathon races. With those events in mind I had to continue on with my schedule and by the time my second marathon came around in 2012, I was ready for it.
- Aim to enjoy running – This is a more difficult goal to track as you won’t always enjoy running. There will always be that shitty run that will taint your month. However, over time you should notice that the positives begin to outweigh the negatives. The key is to be patient with your running and celebrate every success. Run for your own reasons and live your own life.
- Run a certain number of miles in a month – Having a monthly mileage target can help you with consistency and your training. By default I am to run at least 100 miles in a month with 150+ usually signaling a big month. Monthly mileage isn’t everything however. If you’re training for half marathons and running lots of 5 and 6 milers but comparatively few 10+ milers then you won’t be as well prepared as you could be for the race.
- Run at an average pace below an x:00 minute/mile – For 2 years I’d subconsciously trying to break through the sub 9-minute mile average mark. It took until March 2013 to achieve the breakthrough. I was probably capable of running consistently at this pace long before I succeeded, but I never managed it as it wasn’t a goal I’d written down. You can hatch all sorts of plans for yourself in the back of your mind, but they’ll count for nothing if you don’t consciously work towards them.
- Run a negative split on a run – A negative split is a run where the last half of the workout is ran at a quicker pace than the first half. Negative splits are desirable for beginners as they allow you to remain in control of your run and build from a position of strength. A good tip is to start slow and build up your pace as your legs come to you later.
- Run through the wall for the first time – ‘The Wall’ is often associated purely with marathons but it can occur on any of your training runs. I know that I’ve hit The Wall when my mind is racing with negative thoughts, I’m out of breath and my legs are trying to scream to a halt. Perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself as a beginner runner is to show yourself that just because your mind and body is screaming for you to stop, doesn’t mean you have to listen and give in. Running through the wall will improve your resilience and your confidence showing you that anything is possible. Each time you hit a wall is a perfect dress rehearsal for a race. The more times you conquer it, the better prepared you will be.
- Setting goals leads to you setting more goals – This isn’t a goal in itself, but I’ve noticed that when I set myself goals, regardless of whether I succeed in meeting my expectations, I set myself more new ones each time. This might mean that I fail more but, but I also end up succeeding more too. By setting goals you learn to stare failure in the face and see it as a signpost towards success, if you’re willing to learn the necessary lessons.