On Friday night I had the pleasure of speaking to a Running Room clinic on the topic of goal-setting. I spoke about 5 steps to successful goal setting that have worked in my life. It also gave me a chance to reflect on my own running goals and how I plan to achieve them. Specifically, I have set the goal to qualify for the 2018 Boston Marathon. Boston has been my BIG DREAM since the 2012 Paris Marathon, when I started to realize I could run faster. Since then, I have taken 50 minutes off my half marathon and about 35 minutes off my marathon time. That said, there's more work to be done. My current marathon PR is 3:55. That means I have about 25 minutes to saw off. I am planning to run the Hamilton Road 2 Hope Marathon in November 2016, the Ottawa Marathon in spring 2017 and likely the Hamilton Road 2 Hope in fall 2017. Wouldn't it be cool if I BQ'd before fall 2017? Sure. But I want to give myself a realistic timeline to achieve this goal.
5 steps to successful goal setting
1. Have one REALLY big goal.
If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough. As someone who ran their first marathon in 5 hours and 40 minutes, Boston was once unthinkable to me. With time and progress, I've realized that anything is possible if you work hard and believe. I've stopped thinking that Boston is some far out dream and know without a doubt that I will run that race. When it's -30ºC and dark outside, I get out of bed because I know how incredible it will feel when I run from Hopkinson to Boston.
2. Be specific.
Some goals need to be more specific than others. For me, this has meant giving myself a timeframe to achieve my long-standing Boston goal. I have given myself a year and a half and will be specific with training and race planning to benchmark progression. As of right now, I am training for a 3:43 in Hamilton this fall. Yes, "43".
3. Write it down.
I will continue to track my progress on my own google spread sheet, Strava and work out journal. I can't stress enough how important it is to have a record of your progress. Not all days will be rainbows, my training logs will remind me of the work I have done and progress I have made. I am also a fan of goal boards and having subtle reminders of what I'm working towards sprinkled around my day to day (e.g., pictures and post-it notes at work, at home).
4. Find someone to keep you accountable.
I am blessed beyond measure and have many supportive people in my life. Specifically, my family and close friends are aware of my goal and I can trust them to hold me accountable. I also use social media as a way to keep myself accountable for workouts and share my progress. I also love to connect with and follow the stories of people chasing their own goals!
5. Have a positive mindset.
As I said above, I've transformed my thinking from "could I qualify?" to "when I qualify." I pay close attention to my thoughts and focus on keeping them positive and productive. I also find it's helpful to have a few mantras and key phrases that help me refocus when I'm in a rut or in a tough workout.
What big goals are you working towards? What's something that helps you stay committed?
Check out my recent posts in Salty Running:
Training log for the week of July 4, 2016.
Training log for the week of June 27, 2016.
I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter, Instagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine. Have a suggestion for a runner profile? Let me know!