We’re half way through the year, and you may or may not have found yourself getting on with the running goals you set yourself in January. Things starting to look a little bit better in terms of the COVID situation, and I’m sure many, like me, are trying to think through what they want to do with the rest of the year after the last few months have gone a little bit to pot. If you are rethinking your goals, I thought I would share a few different goals that may spark a new flame in your running motivation.
Let’s start with one that is a little predictable, and that’s simply to do a race. Usually there’s a different event every weekend, but with many races cancelled this goal may be a little unpredictable. If you know a race that will definitely be going ahead then great, but it may be time to swap this option out for some of the goals below.
Next how about trying to up your weekly distance. I’ve seen a few ultras and just general challenges getting runners involved by asking them to run a set distance during a week. This is great, but may take a little more build up than what one may think. Running 100miles in a week sounds amazing. However, if you’re only used to running 20miles a week it may cause an injury that puts you out for longer than you’d want. Perhaps a better approach to this would be to give yourself time to build up to that distance. Yes, that means it takes longer, but it is a lot safer and is more likely to keep you running. Start by just gradually increasing the distance, and don’t force yourself to complete in as short a time as possible. Enjoy the journey. You may also want to lump this goal in with another, so you’ve got a short term goal, and a long term goal of increase weekly distance.
A similar long term goal that you may want to hold yourself to, is just a set distance. Maybe you want to run another 300km by the end of the year or the distance from john o groats to land’s end (about 970km). You could be as adventurous with this as you wanted, but again be realistic. The best way to plan would be to have a look at what you’ve already ran this year then had a bit more to push yourself. You may feel that the first half of the year didn’t go so well, and so maybe you’d want to try and triple that distance. During my 2020 Run Goals post I set my distance goal to be 1500km and I’m actually about on target to do that. Ok, maybe I’m a little behind schedule but I’m definitely more of a winter runner and getting ill in January/February didn’t help the cause much! So I’m just trying to rekindle my distance motivation and get down to it. I’ve been trying to plan out each month of training with the idea of going over the set distance I need. To complete the challenge. My hope is that by doing this I can still skip a few sessions and finish my goal.
Another long term goal could be to go further than you have before. Perhaps you’ve never done a half marathon, that’s something you may want to have a go at. Maybe a full marathon distance is the next thing on your list to tackle. Without too many races you have time to devote to developing a new set of skills. There is an argument about how safe it is to be doing these distances without the additional support that can be found through a running event. My thoughts on this really vary. I think if you’re being sensible about it, bringing all your supplies so you can be self-sufficient, not taking on too much too quickly, and taking the run nice and gently. I believe the risk is very minimal, almost the same as it would be on a normal run. The problem, for me, would runners not going out adequately prepared. I’ve ever done a full marathon, but that doesn’t mean I should go out and try that distance next week because all the other runners are. My fitness level isn’t there, so it would be rather ridiculous for me to think it would be safe to do that. We all have common sense and it’s just a matter of using it appropriately.
Short terms goals can really vary. I previously wrote a post with lots of little mini activities that you can do on a run to keep you engaged with this run. But these can all work in terms of just creating new routes. Say your favourite race has been cancelled, why not create a route that makes the name of that race with the street names. Or just doing a scavenger hunt throughout the run. These can be great to get a little bit of motivation to complete your run.
Next why not try to improve some of your times. Of course making a route that is perfectly flat will help with this goals and anything you do isn’t really official if it’s not under race conditions. However, apps don’t know this. You can still get that buzz from improving your PB over a chosen distance just without the bling or extra accolade you may get from doing it during a race. Plan a set of training and just test out your fitness levels, perhaps do a time trial of a distance at the start of a training plan and again at the end. This will give you a time to aim for, and give you motivation to improve and work hard during running sessions.
Alternatively, you might be using apps that give you times for certain sections of road. For Strava these are named segments. You could target a few of these in your local area and try and get the king or queen of the mountain crown. If you’re super speedy you may want to see how many crowns you could steal in a single run, and if you’re a little slower it may be worth planning out an interval session around a certain segment, repeating it a few times to see how you do. I have been known to change my loop in the park slightly so it starts and finishes at the start of a segment, instead of where it’s convenient just to try out my speed against others. Some segments may seem a little unachievable, especially those where lots of people have run, but just give it a go and see how you do.
There’s a few new goals that can be incorporated into your training. Personally I’m trying to run further than I have before. So far my furthest has been 23km, which I did last year, now I want to try and do 25km. My hope is that I motivate myself to get there in the next 4 weeks. You can keep track of my journey on both Strava and Instagram.
Good luck on your own goals, and let me know in the comments what you’re aiming for for the rest of the year.