Eat Pray Run DC: Goals

Do you set race, monthly, or even yearly goals? Find out how having benchmarks may help you.

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This week as I was sitting down to write intentions for my upcoming race, I started thinking about goals. (I’m racing the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in DC this weekend; look out for me if you are there!) In addition to setting goals for most races I run, I’ve started setting monthly ones as well. I also set goals for the year. Why so many goals? Well, there are a few reasons.

Setting goals for the year gives me a big picture outlook on the next twelve months. It allows me to think about what I want to accomplish over the course of a year. I like having a sense of what the upcoming year will bring. Setting goals for each month gives me tangible things to work towards. And setting goals for races help me focus in on a certain time or pace or benchmark while racing. Anything to take my mind off the actual running!

Related: Choosing A Training Plan

If you’ve never sat down and written out running goals, it can feel a little strange. Here’s a peek into my goal setting process. (Note: I’m sharing how I create monthly goals, but the process is pretty similar for yearly goals and race goals.)

I start by analyzing any goals I set for the previous month. This lets me examine what worked, what didn’t work and figure out any adjustments I should make. Once I have a good sense of how the previous week shook out, I’ll think about what is on the calendar for the month— am I racing, am I out of town, what is going on. Then I start to set my goals. I think about goals that are actually achievable. I don’t follow the SMART goals system to a tee, but I do make sure that there is some way that I can actually measure them. Usually once I’ve done all that, I’ve come up with four or five things to focus on during the month.

Related: Making The Time

I find that having goals in mind helps push me through a tough workout because I’m thinking of a bigger picture instead of just succumbing to the pain of hill repeats or speedwork.

Do you set monthly goals? Interested in seeing my goals for April? Check them out here.