Why Make Running Goals?

Posted by | January 01, 2015 | Balanced Runner, Training, Why I Run | No Comments


Time to make running goals and resolutions for 2015…

How many people still make New Year’s Resolutions? Has goal-making gone out of fashion?  It seems that the fear of not accomplishing their goals prevents many people from even making them. If they do not make a goal, presumably, they cannot “fall off the wagon” and they will not be disappointed.

I propose the opposite. I think you will be much more disappointed in your year if you do not make any goals at all.  Sure, you may fail, but you may also achieve something phenomenal that you would not have done at all, had you not dreamed and reached for an ambitious goal.  AND if you do fail, you will most definitely have learned many valuable lessons along the way and grown as an individual.  To try is to grow and learn.

When I look back over my running and training goals, I see how much I have gained from challenging myself with new dreams and aspirations.  In 2014, I had two very specific running and training goals.  One that I did not fully accomplish, and one that I accomplished with flying colours.  I have no regrets and I am pleased that I made both those goals.

Athletic Goals – become a faster runner, swimmer, cyclist:  Specifically –

  1. sub 3 hour Boston Marathon
  2. Successfully complete my first triathlon – Half Ironman

I ran the Boston Marathon in April 2014 and had a great time.  I completed it in 3:06:48  – NOT a sub 3 hour marathon.  Had I made too ambitious a goal?  I do not think so.  I think I could potentially have achieved the time, with smarter racing on the day—I went out too quick.  Still, I am glad I made that goal and I am not devastated that I did not accomplish that time.  It reminds me how challenging the Marathon is and how amazing it is to reach those hard-to-get times.  I have run a sub-three-hour marathon elsewhere, but not at Boston.

I completed my first ever Half Ironman triathlon in September in Muskoka.  It was a thrill and I felt strong throughout most of the race (the last 5km of the run were tough!).  I did what I wanted to do and even had the bonus of coming first in my age group.  It was a special day and so much training had gone into that event.  It was one of the thrilling moments in my life—the swim, bike and run felt euphoric at times.  I loved the whole 5 hour experience!  I do not take for granted that I completed this goal—on another day, with poor conditions, or if I had been fighting illness, the result could have been very different.  This was a gift.

Announcing one’s goals publicly can be frightening.  People may hold you accountable and ask how things are progressing.  (James has found this with his Fit by Forty goal!) You will probably achieve your goals, or you may not.  Do not let fear stop you from experiencing new and exciting adventures in 2015.

Make SMART goals!

Specific: Saying, “Get in Shape” is not specific enough.  You need to specify how frequently and how long you will workout or have a clear end goal, such as run a half marathon.

Measurable: You must be able to clearly identify when and how you have accomplished your goal.  It can be a body weight goal; a specific race distance or specific target race time.

Attainable:  With a clear plan and specific steps, most goals can be attainable given an appropriate time frame.  Make a plan so the goal is attainable!

Realistic:  The goal needs to be something you can actually do.  However, do not be deceived; often a challenging goal is more likely to be accomplished than a very simple one, as it will take true commitment and hard work.  What matters is how motivated you are to achieving your goal – with hard work, you will be must more likely to achieve your goals.

Timely:  You need to set a time frame to achieve your goal.  without a time limit there is no urgency and you are far less likely to work towards your goal.

GOALS for 2015

Go ahead and create a new goal for 2015.  Do you need to try something new?  Do you want to go faster?  Do you want to go further?  Dream and go for it.

My goal for 2015 is to complete my first Full Ironman.  I thank my friend for challenging me to pursue this dream!

Janine Moffett

About Janine Moffett

I am a mother of three incredible children, work full time as an instructor therapist, and love to run. I have run 11 marathons, with a personal best of 2:57. This past April I ran my third Boston Marathon. I love challenges and began exploring the world of triathlons in 2014. I completed my first half Ironman at Muskoka in fall 2014 and came first in my age group. Now I am taking on the challenge of a Full Ironman, which I am planning for September, 2015. I believe we need to keep trying new things and embrace life to the fullest. I hope I can provide inspiration and insights to others.

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