Let your running goals take shape

Each new year, we set resolutions for a “new you” to be a better person, more fit and reach new heights. Truth is, most people will fall short of those goals within 7 to 14 days. Another truth is, if we want these goals to stick, there is no magic day. Goals become habits with daily commitment. As 2018 begins, I’m focusing on my running goals for the year and will share them to be held accountable.

running training ultramarathon goals

2018 Running Goals

In 2017, I ran my first ultramarathon, 50 miles at the Trail Rail Run in western Montana. Honest to goodness, one of the first thoughts to cross my mind after finishing was “100k is only 12 more miles.”

In 2018, I’ve committed myself to two goals – run the distance and improve my strength.

With each new distance I have completed, I have been anxious to go further. It started with a half marathon in 2015, the marathon in 2016, and continued with 50 miles in 2017. The opportunity to find my limits, push myself and seek new horizons is a big rush. The process of getting there is just as important as crossing that finish line.

And I realize the need for better strength to help me reach that distance goal. In the later miles of each race I’ve completed, I’ve always realized the need for a stronger core. Strength training is the last thing more runners want to do, but I have to come to terms with its importance if I want to run longer, injury free.

However, strength isn’t limited to core muscles. That can also include mental strength to sustain hours of work and weeks months of work required to get there.

So, to help me reach that goal of going the distance, I’ve registered for the Beaverhead Endurance Run. On July 14, I will set out and run 100k on the continental divide near Salmon, Idaho. I’ve registered, paid the cash, and have committed myself to reach that finish line.

Path to reach my running goals

Running 62+ miles at elevation doesn’t happen overnight and I will need a plan to get there. One of the biggest reasons New Year’s resolutions fail is because people fail to plan how they’ll reach that big goal.

Aside from making myself accountable by publicly sharing my goals, I have to make a plan. That includes setting process goals and defining each step that will get me there. Having those incremental steps to help me reach my goal will make 100k much less intimidating and more obtainable.

Most elite runners have some great advice to share and many do so through books, podcasts, and interviews. One of the consistent pieces of advice I’ve picked up is to keep a training journal to be able to reflect on what does and does not work in reaching your goals.

6 steps to reach your running goals

In their training journal and guide, elite athletes, Lauren Fleshman and‎ Roisin McGettigan-Dumas, share eight great advice in setting milestones to define and reach our running goals. Below are 6 that really resonate with me.

Set process goals, not outcome goals

Breaking your ultimate goal into smaller commitments establishes a plan for better commitment. For me, this means setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals to reach the 100k distance on July 14. It’s much easier to commit to and visualize a path to running 40 miles per week than it is to only say, “I’m running 100k in six months.”

You can have it all, but not at the same time

Increasing my distance and improving my strength require different actions. During the course of training, there will be phases where I have to focus on different aspects of training and improving to reach those different goals.

Embrace the power of negative thoughts

My biggest foe at the end of a training run or at the base of a big hill is myself. I can start focusing on the negative and what I cannot do and defeat myself in my mind before I ever set foot on the trail. We have to celebrate what is working and work to amplify it.

Keep goals visible

Map it out. Keep it front and center. Make it a constant reminder. I’ve found that journaling my progress in training improves my commitment. Keeping my big goals on a board by the door serves as a daily reminder and inspiration of what I’m working toward. The little things matter.

Share your goals

I can set goals and tell myself I am accountable. But by sharing my goals here, with you, I have a greater degree of accountability when I make those goals known to more than myself. When I know people are watching (looking at you, Strava), I have even more reason to accomplish what I set out to do.

Make the time

Actually putting the time on my calendar for training has been a huge step toward commitment and dedication. In my busy schedule, between all-day travel and long days in meetings, I can easily get home and find a million excuses not to get that day’s run in.

Andy Jones Wilkins wrote on iRunFar recently, “My goal for 2018 is to work hard enough, smart enough, and hopeful enough…” That’s something that resonates with me. If nothing else, if I can stick with those goals, I know I can accomplish anything I set my mind to in 2018.

What about you?

Like what you see here? Sign up for my newsletter to be notified of future stories and weekly headlines. Click here to sign up.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply