Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Throughout this journey, I've become a big fan of goal-setting. I think goals are great motivational tools and ways of challenging ourselves to reach a certain result in a certain amount of time. I think they provide us good benchmarks, and allow us to easily measure our progress, even if the goal itself isn't achieved.

That said, I think a lot of people go about goal-setting the wrong way. I think people sometimes fail to create realistic goals, which either sets them up for failure or puts them on a dangerous path to achieve too-aggressive results. I'm absolutely guilty of doing this. I've entered diets (unhealthy diets) with the mindset of "I'm going to lose 10lbs in 2 weeks!" Guess what? Didn't happen. [Shocker.]

Here's my tip: every goal doesn't have to be your long term result. Setting a goal of running a 10-minute mile doesn't mean you stop challenging yourself as soon as you run one in 9:59. It doesn't mean the 10-minute goal was too easy. It means mission accomplished! Reward yourself, and set another goal. Don't set unrealistic goals just to try to get to your end result faster. You can't rush the process just because you set over-aggressive goals!

Anyway, with the half marathon fast approaching, I've been thinking a lot about my goals for 13.1. I knooooooow that people say my only goal should be to finish. But I want to do more than that. My training has gone, for the most part, really well. I've grown a lot as a running in the last 9 months, so I want to push myself beyond "just" finishing (I say this tongue in cheek-- 13.1 miles is 13 point freaking 1 miles, whether it takes 90 minutes or 190 minutes.) 

I actually read a blog post by Mindy @ Just a One Girl Revolution a few months ago that completely captures my own thoughts on setting running goals. Mindy's got a heckuva lot more running experience than me, but I think her philosophy works for runners of all ability levels, which is why I love it.

Basically, the idea is that you set three goals:

C: The "easiest" goal. 

B: The middle-difficulty goal.

A: The all-out balls-to-the-walls kicking-ass-and-taking-names goal.

My runs above 8 miles have averaged somewhere between a 10:40 and 11:10 pace, however I do stop my watch when I get my fuel (the pocket in the back of my pants is slightly awkward), or stand at stoplights for more than 30 seconds. I keep hearing that "the adrenaline will push you through!" but I don't want to hedge my goal bets on adrenaline. I want to hedge them based on actual capability.

All this to say, here are my goals:

C: Finish the damn thing.

B: Finish in sub-2:30 (roughly 11:25 pace)

A: Finish in sub-2:20 (roughly 10:40 pace)

I'm not sure if I mentioned, but my dad and brother will both be running with me. And by with me, I mean my brother is going to smoke us all and finish in sub-2:00 (like, probably without breaking a sweat. And it's his first half too. Can you guess who got the running genes?)

My dad'll probably finish in 2:15ish, and my 12-miler had me on pace to finish in just under 2:25. So, my dad may take one for the team and run with the slowpoke (that's me!), but we haven't decided yet. 

Either way, my goals are out there. No turning back now!

Have do you set goals for new distances?


  1. Okay, so I'm totally adopting this "ABC" goal setting thing! Also, good luck on your race goals! I love, love reading about your race prep because hopefully next Spring I'll be doing the same! We shall see!

  2. I love that way of looking at your goals!

  3. That is SO cool that your dad and brother are running the half with you! And I think the 3-goal approach is a very smart way to go about it!

  4. Yeah, I like the 3 tier goal approach. I have my first 5k in about 5 weeks...My 5K is nothing compared to your half marathon, but for me its a big deal. I may need to set 3 goals for that too. Thanks for sharing the good idea!

  5. Love that idea with goals. I'm going to do that for my Spartan Race! Thanks for the post!

  6. Opps I should get up to date on my blog reading before emailing, that's fantastic on the running front, well-done!

  7. I see your "6 Things" and raise you a Sunshine Award! On my blog. :)