Running Resolutions

Have you made any running related New Year’s resolutions for this year, or are you one of those types that doesn’t believe in resolutions? The way I look at it, resolutions are just goals for the year. When it comes to running setting goals is major part of improving. Below are some pointers on setting running goals (resolutions).

To help explain my tips I will use one of my running resolutions for 2009 as an example. My resolution is to run sub 4:00 for the 1500 and sub 16:00 for the 5000 (either on the track or in a certified road race).

Tip #1: Make your resolutions measurable. Some common resolutions might be to run faster or further or to loose weight. While these are great goals, they are very ambiguous. This makes it much harder to stay focused on your goal. Instead you should say specifically how much faster or farther you want to run or how much weight you want to loose.  Before I picked my resolution for this year I had already decided I wanted focus on developing my speed in 2009. So then by picking goals that will require me to improve my speed I now have a specific goal that I can measure my progress towards.

Tip #2: Put your resolution in writing. By putting your resolution in writing you make it a bit more official than if remains just a thought in your head and you will be more likely to stick to it. Ideally you would right your resolution someplace like in the front of your training log where you will see it everyday as a reminder of what you are working towards. I actually prefer to take it a step further and let other people know what my resolutions are. This puts a bit more pressure on me to stick to the resolution. For some people this might add a bit too much pressure. Also, I never know who might have a suggestion that could really help me achieve my goals. So by talking about them with people I have more chances to get some help.

Tip #3: Make your resolution realistic. This is probably the most important of the three tips. If you make your resolution so outrageous that there is absolutely no way you will ever achieve it you will loose your motivation very quickly. Of course the flip side of this is also a problem. If you make your resolution so easy that it doesn’t require any effort on your part to achieve it you won’t have gained anything. For me a sub 4:00 1500 and sub 16:00 5000 is a very ambitious goal. In fact, I this will now be the third year I have made this resolution (this will be my year to reach my goal, I can feel it). Even though I didn’t actually achieve these times the past two years I have made them my resolution I still honestly believe that I am capable of running those times so I have never lost my motivation to work towards them.

Hopefully you find these tips at least a little bit helpful.  When you have something specific that you are shooting for it makes your running much more enjoyable and meaningful, plus it is much easier to motivate yourself to get out and train. If you are like me and like to let other people know what your resolutions are please leave me a comment stating your goals. I wish you all the best of luck in reaching your running goals for 2009.


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6 responses to “Running Resolutions

  1. 1. I would love to find a way to keep from being too busy to run, whether it is by running early in morning or what.
    2. We have been on vacation during the Bix now for two years in a row. I miss that and the Eldridge Moonlight Chase.
    3. I would like to do at two half marathons, probably the Quad Cities Distance Classic and the Quad Cities Marathon Half-Marathon.
    4. I would like to get serious about improving some of my shabby times. I can’t remember when I last got a real PR.
    5. I used to run 20 or races a year, I would like to get close to that again. I think I miss that more anything else.

    • Steve

      Hi David,
      Thanks for sharing your resolutions. I know what you mean with trying to keep from being too busy to run, I struggle with that all the time. What has worked best for me is to get up early and do a workout (I get up at 5:00 and ride the stationary bike) and then run at lunch at work. It was tough to get going with this schedule, but I told myself I had to stick with it for two weeks, no excuses, no skipping a run or early morning ride. Then if it still wasn’t working for me I could reconsider. By the end of two weeks it had become a habit and the schedule stuck (that doesn’t mean getting up at 5AM became easy). That is great that you looking to improve on some of your PR’s, have you set specific times that you would like to improve those PR’s to? I’ve heard a lot about the Bix race but never run it. I definitely would love to try it some time. Best of luck in 2009. – Steve

  2. Mark Alexander

    Steve –
    As you mention, a goal shouldn’t be too easy. Inexperienced athletes (like I was) don’t always have a good idea of what they are capable of, both in training and in competition. And for some personality types, a “realistic” goal can be demotivating. It doesn’t get you out the door.

    • Steve

      Hi Mark, nice to hear from you. How’s Mexico? You gotta be having better weather than we are up here. You are exactly right about inexperienced athletes. That’s why I think it is a good idea for beginning runners to at least have a more experienced runner that they can bounce ideas off of and help them set goals.

  3. Mark Alexander

    Hi Steve.

    The weather is great here in Mexico City 🙂

    About the importance of challenging goals, here is my story. When I started competing, I worried a lot about “blowing up” at the end of a race, so I would go out easy. And naturally I would never blow up. I felt good about having a plan and executing it.

    Now maybe that is a reasonable strategy for marathoners, but I was racing shorter distances. And one day during a training run, a more experienced runner (Bryan Contreras?) suggested that I test my limits in a race, that I go out strong with the plan of crashing and burning, and find out how that feels. It was a good idea but it took a while before I implemented it. And that’s how I discovered that high levels of stress are tolerable in a race situation. And my times started improving.

    So like you said, learning from others. Which is what your blog is partly about 🙂

    • Steve

      Funny you should mention testing your limits and seeing how it feels. Yesterday on my run I was thinking about how when a lot of people first start with running they will that they are really running hard and pushing to their limits. But then eventually some of them will have race or a hard workout where they don’t accept that limit that they have come to know and push beyond. Suddenly they realize they are capable of running on a whole new level and they see huge improvements. I guess that doesn’t necessarily have to do with setting goals, but your comment just made me think of that. Thanks again for following my blog. – Steve

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