5 Running Goals for 2016
With a New Year kicking off, many runners are setting their goals, making resolutions and planning out their race calendars for the year. Too often, these goals are focused solely on setting Personal Records (PRs) without a clear plan for attaining them. If you’re looking to set some yearly goals that are process-focused, but unsure where to start, these 5 running goals, which are challenging but attainable, are good places to start.
1. Regularly Do Injury Prevention Exercises
If you’ve been running for awhile, chances are that you’ve been prescribed injury prevention exercises at some point or another. You likely know where you’re weak and what parts of your body you are most likely to injure. Set goals for how many times a week you will do your injury prevention exercises and keep track. As with any goal, accountability is key. While many runners track their weekly mileage and their workouts, it’s less common to track injury prevention exercises. The result: you’ll be less likely to develop a running-related injury.
2. Hydrate Daily
Hydration is important for everyone, but particularly for athletes. If you struggle to drink the recommended 8+ glasses per day, then think of some creative ways to remember to drink water. In colder months, try drinking warm water or room temperature water. Drink water with every meal. Put post-it notes around your workspace reminding you to stay hydrated. Whatever you decide, make a commitment to stick with it throughout the entire year. The result: you’ll be more energized and less likely to become sick. (There’s a huge list of other benefits, but I won’t go into them here.)
3. Run Your Best Possible Race, Each Time
Depending on how long you’ve been running, it’s likely that most races you run will not be PRs. In fact, the more experienced you become, PRs become the exception and not the rule. Therefore, you’ll be more successful if you simply focus on running to the best of your ability each time you race. For example, if you are a marathoner, one of your goals could be to stay mentally strong during the last 10K. Another goal could be to focus on your form and your stride during races. The result: you’ll be more satisfied with yourself and your performance than if your sole purpose was to set a PR.
4. Follow A Training Plan or Schedule…Or Not!
Commit to maintaining some structure in your running. No matter what level you’re at, a training plan or schedule of weekly runs will keep you on target for your larger goals. On the flip side, maybe you’ve decided that you want to take a more laid-back approach to running this year, and you don’t want to be constrained by a rigid schedule. In that case, commit to giving your type-A self a break and running when the mood strikes you. The result: you’ll increase your fitness level (with a plan) you’ll have a more zen-like relationship with running (without one).
5. Learn More About Your Sport
One of the most straightforward ways to improve is to have more knowledge. You could set a goal of reading two books about your sport this year or reading one running blog post or article per week–like the Athlinks blog. You could also participate in online running forums and learn from other people’s experience. The result: you’ll be empowered with more knowledge to succeed.
In 2016, think outside of the box when developing your running goals. They don’t have to revolve around mileage targets and PRs. Chances are, if you do a good job with these process-focused goals, you’ll also meet your other targets.