I love having a run goal to keep me focused and motivated.
I’m not a natural runner, and keeping up with my exercise routine has been a challenge and tough at times, but that for me is the perfect criteria for a great running goal – it should be both scary and exciting.
Tips to help with your run goals:
1. Be specific
Nothing sets you up to fail faster than making a wishy washy goal that you can’t measure. You will never truly know if you have achieved your goal if it is to ‘run more’, ‘be a better runner’ or to ‘focus on running this year’.
To stay engaged and – perhaps more importantly – to truly know when you have achieved your goal, make it real, make it measurable and make it something within your control.
2. Be realistic, but stretch yourself
Running smart is all about knowing where your limits are.
It doesn’t matter what your run goal is, just set one that will be a challenge for you to achieve.
Running for me and my running colleagues is all about achievement not the pace or distance.
Your run goal should be something just about you and what will test and keep you motivated to achieve when it gets really hard.
It’s important not to compare yourself to others as well.
3. A goal without a plan is a dream
Now you have a goal in place, break it down into bite-sized chunks and work out how you will get to each milestone.
I believe that you should have a well balanced training plan that you can print off and then tick each session as you complete them. This is extremely motivating.
4. Make yourself accountable
Nothing will keep you more accountable than telling everyone around you what your running goal is. Shout it from the roof tops.
Then keep regularly updating, so that you can share your journey.
This is one of the things that I love about finding like-minded people to run with: that we share the highs, the lows and everything in between to keep ourselves going on our run journey.
5. Visualise how great it will be to achieve that goal
Will it be hard work? Of course. All worthwhile goals are. But take some time regularly to visualise what it will feel like to achieve that goal and what this run goal means to you.
For me when I am having a tough day in training or during a race all I visualise is crossing that finish line and having the medal put around my neck. That feeling of achievement is unbelievable and knowing that you really can achieve anything you decide.
However, the most crucial goal is to always remain safe and secure when running.
Tips for Running Safely
Women (in particular) cannot be too careful when it comes to thinking about safety while out running.
Be cautious, take nothing for granted and really think about the timing and the location of your run.
My top tips to keep you safe whilst running
Tip 1: Be aware, not alarmed
We can all fall into the trap of thinking: it won’t happen to me. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking leaves you vulnerable.
You need to take responsibility for your own safety – know the risks at play and take whatever measures you can to minimise them.
This is not about being scared or alarmed, it’s about being cautious and protecting yourself.
Tip 2: Always carefully plan your route ahead
Don’t just ‘wing’ your runs. Know your route before you start running and look at it critically beforehand, being sure to ask yourself the following questions:
- Are these areas well lit?
- Am I running in areas where there are other people/activity?
Tip 3: Make someone aware that you’re heading off for a run
Always tell someone (your partner, a roommate, text someone!) that you’re going for a run and when you expect to be back.
Many runners I know are mums, which makes this point even more important as they probably find yourself running either early morning, or in the evening.
A nifty App that can help with this is Glympse, a fast, free and easy way to share your location with your loved ones in real time.
Tip 4: Avoid wearing all black
Those who know me well, know how much I love my fashion and dressing well but when it comes to running, safety is always my top priority.
Bright colours are a much better option than all black and clothing with reflective tabs makes you more visible.
Tip 5: Always take your phone!
When do you leave the house without your phone? Never?
Keep it that way while you’re running. Your phone is incredibly important to have on you while running. Not just for its GPS but in case you encounter any trouble and need to call for help.
Tip 6: Be volume wise
Don’t get me wrong, I love running while listening to a good tune! If you are listening to music, keep the volume down low and consider leaving one ear bud out so that you can always hear what’s happening around you. It’s a small tip that makes a huge difference.