Last weekend I ran my first trail marathon, and it was the most fun I’ve had running in a long time. Since trail running is a new and exciting territory for me, my goal was to simply finish this race feeling strong and confident (and as muddy as possible).
I am happy to report that I met this goal more or less, but beyond this- I think I found one of my new passions. Combining my love for hiking and running into one event was more thrilling than I had anticipated. I think you should try a trail race too if you haven’t already! Stay tuned for another post with a full recap.
A view of Lake Huron from the race course; photo credit: North Face Endurance Challenge
Typically my road races are time-focused, so not having a goal finish time for the race this weekend felt rather freeing. Setting running goals that are attainable and measurable can help push you to your potential and keep you motivated. While having running aspirations is important, these goals don’t necessarily have to involve a time record or setting a new personal record. In fact, while I think it’s important to run for a purpose, I also believe that mixing up your goals will expand your running experience overall and help you to avoid being stuck in a frustrating time-goal rut.
Here are 10 running goals that have nothing to do with a PR:
1. During a race, drinking water from cups without stopping (hint: pinching the top of the cup makes it easier to pour!)
2. Providing support and motivation to a friend while pacing them in their race.
3. Running a negative split during a race or training run.
4. Exploring new local running routes each week.
5. Enjoying every moment during a race by high-fiving as many people as possible, reading all of the spectator signs, and listening to the cheers (or your own thoughts, if the race is remote) instead of listening to music.
6. Getting as many friends as possible to sign up for a local race.
7. Nailing down the perfect hydration and fueling regimen in a race or training run by trying various products throughout the run. The end result is feeling strong and sans any GI-issues or cramps.
8. Running a certain distance for the first time in a training run or race.
9. Finishing a race feeling strong and confident instead of drained or injured.
10. Joining a running club, including the half marathon “fanatic” or marathon “maniac” groups. Note that the minimal criterion for half fanatics is running two half marathons within 16 days or three within 90 days (more info here). Minimal criterion for marathon maniacs is two marathons within 16 days or three marathons within 90 days (for more info, check out their website here). There are also 50 states half and full marathon clubs, a 7 continents club, and many more clubs- all interesting, exciting challenges! Of course, if you’re going to attempt something like this, make sure to consult a running coach to help make sure you do so safely and stay healthy!
What are some of your running goals or aspirations that you’d like to attempt? Any readers members of the half-fanatics or marathon manics clubs?
Have you run a trail race and have had a really good experience? A really bad experience?
PS-Congrats to Carrie for winning the SPIbelt! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the new belt! :)
Note: this post was originally written by me for Run Farther and Faster blog. Check out the site for more posts & RFF coaching information!