Real Talk on Running Goals

Goals: the destination of a journey. They should be measurable, observable, the desired result. I always have work goals and several personal and fitness-related goals in my mind at a given time. But these days, following Boston and my first trail ultra, I am feeling a bit unsettled in my fitness plans.  Adding to the lack of running ambitions and motivation has been the post-marriage mentality of ambition fatigue. Mark and I have really enjoyed the last couple of months (and hopefully many more years of happiness to come), but I think that it’s time for some goal setting.

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First, I need to determine what I want to accomplish most. Do I aim for a fast marathon? Or a farther distance? Do I even move beyond running goals? Here are some ideas for my fitness goals:

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Across this spectrum, jotting these ideas down has been helpful, and I recommend you do the same if you’re struggling to specify your plan. Once I decide on the next goal(s), I will find a way to keep myself accountable either by working with coaches again or writing my workouts down. Tracking my progress will be important motivator.

This is just the start of a longer process – more on this to come!

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Boston was so beautiful yesterday:IMG_4503 (1)

Suddenly my runs (run-walks) around my favorite routes have been sweaty but scenic. I’ve been listening to S-Town, which I will promptly add to my next round of podcast recommendations. So interesting and profound, a great story. Listening to this podcast also makes me thankful to live in Boston. Have a Happy Thursday!

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What are your current running goals? Is there a distance/event you have always wanted to try?

What’s your favorite tip for staying cool while running in the summer heat?

What’s your favorite thing about the city/location where you live?

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33 thoughts on “Real Talk on Running Goals”

  1. I can relate to this. I was getting burned out by marathons and running in general. About that time my two buddies started getting into triathlon and dragged me along kicking and screaming. Now I am obsessed with it, having done two Ironman races and training for my third. The addition of swimming (which I stunk at) and biking (which I actually love) added two new diversions from running. Try a tri! You might surprise yourself. I would opt for your suggestion of racing some shorter distances, like a mile and up to 5K. I love running the short stuff, and letting it rip! Good luck.

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    1. Wow, that’s really cool. I’ve tried a sprint triathlon and had a lot of fun, but found the swimming and transitions to be tough. I should try it again…thanks for encouraging me to go beyond running! Also agree with the 5k idea, especially in the summer.

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  2. My current running goal is to PR at my second half marathon this fall. It is a few days after my birthday, so a PR would be a great birthday present to myself! My favorite thing about my city is the strong running community. I start group training for the half in a week and I could not be more excited to be surrounded by inspirational runners and people. Everyone gets so excited about running and running in our city. It is such a motivational atmosphere.

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  3. I’ve done 21 marathons, 38 half-marathons, and … now … 7 centuries. Why don’t you train for a 100-mile bike ride? It would give your running more context, and also be good for your joints. Cheers.

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  4. I have had a break from running since my first marathon last month but my new goal is a sub 2hr half marathon!
    I really don’t know how to stay cool in the heat, I get hot running even when it’s freezing outside!

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  5. Goals wise I’m torn between trying to get faster or run further! My next race I think I’ll be aiming to run further than I’ve ever run! Heat wise my best tip is to run early in the morning – as much as that can suck! And my favourite thing about running in my home town (Adelaide, Australia) is that within half an hour I can get to track, trail or beach – we have the best of everything here (and great weather!)

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  6. Those are some great goals! I hope to BQ one day. I’m nowhere close to doing so, but I am hoping to shave off 49 min on my next marathon. I’ve only run 1 and during that race, my only goal was to finish. Haha I’m a bit more ambitious this time around. :)

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  7. Hi..right now my goals are to strengthen my legs, particularly my left one so I can get my back to running, which looks like it may be next spring. So my goal is to stay on task so I can get my strength and fitness back. As well as work on my core. I may be starting with a 5k but that’s okay, as long as I get back out there. 🏃🏽‍♀️

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  8. You have a list of really different fitness goals! In the end you have to pick what works for you though but also keep the rest of your lifestyle in mind. One thing about training for shorter races is that you have a lot of time to pursue other things in life too. Don’t get me wrong, training for a fast 5K or 10K is tough, but it doesn’t require the mileage or pre-hab that marathon training does. I can’t imagine training for a 50 or 100 because of all the hours of training you’d have to put in and also the challenge of finding trails to train on. But really, I bet you could pursue several of these and do a great job!

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  9. Goals…tough subject maybe. Goals without action are just fantasies maybe? I would one day like to run a 100 mile race, but not actively working towards that so: fantasy.

    I am mindfully trying to enjoy each run in a way that I did not on the last one. I’d like to be faster or run farther but really I’m just so grateful I get to do this at all.

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  10. Great Post! Definitely going through this, but the opposite way- 5k PR done, now switching modes to the marathon, hoping for a 3:45 or less. As an avid trail runner myself, I think that would be a great goal to pursue. Trail running is one of the most rewarding activities I’ve ever engaged with. Ultras aren’t my thing yet, I’m a little apprehensive on the studies that have shown adverse effects on the heart for those runners, but I’m not totally writing it off yet. I’m sure you’ll land on something awesome to tackle!

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  11. What a good idea to put all those varied goals down in a spectrum – did it help you to choose?
    My running goal at the moment is to claw back my fitness to complete the Birmingham Marathon in October. I’m glad it’s my second marathon as I would cancel it if I didn’t know how the training works. But as with my first one, I have been hampered by a break in training (then, it was a fall over a dog while running and a cracked rib, this time an operation that should have been in April (leading me to postpone my place in the Manchester marathon) but was in May). I am not going in as strong as I had hoped, and will have to just gather stamina together, but I will get there – my plan is to run with the slowest person in my club if I can’t run at my preferred pace – there’s a generous cut-off time, thank goodness.
    Next goal is the Manchester marathon next April. I am going to try to keep my training distances up and continue to build my strength so I have a better and more prepared race there.
    Then I want to do a road ultra, but we’ll see.

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  12. Goals are a tough one to take on — personally, I recently decided to run my first marathon distance race. I won’t place very high and it is very likely that I will walk quite a bit of it, but I aim to finish this year and improve next year.

    I just started following this blog and I really like all of your posts so far! Thanks for sharing!

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  13. Hi Jane runs wild,
    I’ve just picked up running again after almost a year out.
    My goal is to get some basic fitness and not get out of breath walking up stairs. I’ve gone for a 10k race in 8 weeks to keep me motivated and something to work towards.
    Right now I just want to be able to finish without walking. Then I’ll make some more ambitious goals.
    Getting back into running is already getting me thinking about other goals like eating healthy and spending more quality time with my children.
    Nice posts and nice blog.

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  14. Your goals sound great! I can’t wait to hear which one you chose:)
    I was recently in Boston and ran and I think you are very lucky to be able to run in such a beautiful city!

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