As you start to prepare for your next race and think about your goals for it, these are my tips for setting appropriately-hard goals so that you can walk away from the race knowing you gave it your all and you feel satisfied about your performance.
I highly suggest setting an A, B, and C goal for any race you do. Rather than having only one goal (i.e. “set a new PR or personal record”), having 3 different goals allows wiggle room for the unexpected on race day: poor weather conditions, GI distress on race day, up the night before with a sick kid, etc.
The goals you set for yourself don’t always have to be based on time. They could be: finish the race with no pain, run at least half the distance, take no walk breaks, have negative splits, etc. People run races for different reasons, so make the goals fit your situation so you can feel satisfaction when crossing the finish line.
‘A’ goal = This is a ‘shoot-for-the-moon’ goal.
This goal might be something that seems a little out of reach, but on a perfect day it would happen! Don’t be afraid to DREAM BIG!! Ask your training buddies, significant other, or a coach what they think you are capable of. Oftentimes they will push you outside your comfort zone and challenge you a bit! Even if you don’t meet your ‘A’ goal, you still have two other goals to fall back on.
‘B’ goal = This goal should be within your reach, but still challenging you a bit.
Your ‘B’ should be a little more attainable and should leave you smiling about your effort after the race. Your ‘B’ goal should happen even if you don’t have a perfect day.
‘C’ goal = A goal that would leave you satisfied and knowing you gave your best effort.
To have all of the stars align on race day is hard to come by. At almost every race I’ve run, I can think of something that didn’t go as planned, which is why there is a ‘C’ goal. This goal allows the unexpected to happen but for you still to be successful and leave the race knowing you gave it your best effort. Sometimes this goal for me has been ‘to finish the race.’ Even that in and of itself is a big accomplishment for most!
Take time to think about your goals, and then write them down on paper as it makes them much more real. Then tell others! If you don’t want the whole world to keep you accountable via social media, tell your closest pals because they’ll continue to love you no matter how you do. In the end, running a race should leave you feeling accomplished and ready to sign up for the next one.