Your New Year’s resolution was to start running. You’ve laid the foundation over the past few weeks and have been fit for proper running shoes, but now you find yourself wondering what’s next. How do you keep going, or what should you work toward? As with any new endeavor you take on, it’s important to have goals in place to measure your progress and keep you on track for success.
When it comes to running, you need to first be realistic with where you are on your journey and where you want to go. Know your physical abilities now and be honest with where you think you will be in one, two, or six months. Set your goals accordingly. If you’re just getting into fitness and running, deciding to complete an Ironman this year may be a stretch. But crossing the finish line of a 5k or being able to run for 30 minutes straight could definitely be doable.
MAKE YOUR GOALS MEASURABLE.
Whether it’s being able to run consistently for 30 minutes or run one mile in 10 minutes, set a specific goal that you can measure. Ambiguous goals make it harder to track progress and can make you feel like you aren’t moving forward in your running journey. Pick a set distance or time goal and plan to achieve it. Also be sure to track your progress daily or weekly so you can see how far you have come since you started. Having a record is good for the harder days when it feels like you haven’t improved.
PICK A RACE.
If you’re currently walking or doing walking/running intervals, it may be a good idea to focus on an upcoming 5k. If you’re currently running 3-5 miles, maybe it’s time to take the leap and train for a half marathon. Sit down with a calendar and determine how long it would take to train for an upcoming race and decide which one you would like to participate in.
HAVE SOME ACCOUNTABILITY.
Tell your friends and family what your running goal is. Better yet, have a friend who is working toward a similar goal help hold you accountable. Join a running/walking group to be around like-minded people who will motivate you and encourage you to succeed. Knowing you have people waiting on you to go for a walk or run or having people ask when your next race is will help you stay on track.
Marcia Scott is the Training Program Coordinator at Fleet Feet Sports. For more information call (901) 761.0078 or visit fleetfeetmemphis.com.