“If you are meeting all of your goals, you are setting them too low.”
What are your goals for 2012? How do you go about setting them?
I am constantly setting goals. I have short-term goals, long-term goals, and random goals. For individual races, I always set two levels of goals: a fantasy goal & a reasonable goal. Why so many goals? What is this all about?
Setting goals accomplishes several things. First and foremost, goals help us to be future-oriented. A goal gives you something to work towards. Setting specific short and long-term goals gives us a concrete reason for getting out and running every day.
Another important benefit of setting running goals is for training. A specific pace goal for a race in the near future not only motivates us, but it also helps guide our decision of how far and how fast to run in training. Even if your goal is simply to enjoy running, you need to plan for distance and intensity so that you will not overdo it by going too far or too fast. It pays to do a little bit of planning.
How do you set goals for running? Most runners set goals by aiming for specific times in specific races. You might decide that you want to do really well in a specific 5K that you like to run every year. A more relaxed approach would be to set a goal for a specific distance in a specific year and give yourself more than one race to accomplish it. That is my approach this year. In order to determine the specific times, I simply looked at the last 2 years and projected my progress out a year. That is how I came up with my list.
My Running Goals for 2012:
- 1,800 total miles for the year (I ran 1,400 miles in 2011)
- 5 minute mile
- 18 minute 5K
- 1:20 half marathon
- 2:50 marathon
What is my approach to accomplishing these goals? I have a short list of specific races that I like to run. I have mapped these out and selected a few other races to fill in and give me opportunities to check on my progress. Specifically, I like to run the Knoxville Marathon (April 1), the Pilot Fireball Classic 5k (July), the 7 Bridges Marathon (Oct), & the Secret City Half-Marathon (Nov).
Since marathon training schedules usually last for 18 weeks or 4 months, they tend to be the starting point of planning. My general schedule looks like this:
Phase 1: Training for Knoxville Marathon [up to April 1] – include a 5K & a half-marathon
I will run the Strawberry Plains Half-Marathon in February as a training run. I do not expect to get 1:20, but I would like to make progress towards it. Hopefully around 1:26. Likewise, I do not expect the Knoxville Marathon to be my fastest of the year. Like Strawberry plains, the course is hilly. I would just like to make significant progress towards the goal. I am aiming for around a 7 minute pace, which is about 3:03:32.
Phase 2: Crazy Speed training [April, May, June] – ends at Fireball 5K
After recovering from the Knoxville Marathon, I plan to run short and fast. This is my time to focus on speed & strength. This is when I want to shatter my recent PRs and run a mile in under 5 minutes. Building this speed will help me break through to the next level in the marathon and half. This stage will culminate in the Fireball Classic 5K, where I want to accomplish the goal of under 18 minutes.
Phase 3: Training for 7 Bridges Marathon [July, August, September, Oct]
With my new found speed, it will be time to gradually up the mileage again to prepare for the 7 Bridges Marathon in mid-October. I may run a few other races along the way for fun and to measure my progress. The focus, however, will be all about building towards the marathon.
Phase 4: Oct/Nov – heal and quick training for Secret City
A month after the marathon comes the Secret City Half-Marathon. This is a relatively flat course that is designed for PRs. After all of that speed and marathon training, I am hoping for the miracle time of 1:20. I set my PR a very long time ago at 1:20:48 and I would love to beat that in 2012.
Phase 5: December – set new goals & train for a marathon [Knoxville??]
What happens in this phase is totally dependent on what happens the rest of the year. If any goal has yet to be attained, I will decide whether to race during this phase or just hit the reset button and get it done next year.
I have a lot of goals, but they are all related. I consider it to be one agenda: get faster and be a very good marathoner.
Most importantly, I will not let my goals get in the way of the real goal: enjoy running. I am enjoying going after my goals. As long as the process of setting goals & working towards them continues to be fun, I will keep at it.
How do you set your goals? What are your goals for 2012?
“Train hard, race easy, & enjoy the run!” — P. Mark Taylor