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Setting Realistic Running Goals

  • By Jeff Gaudette
  • Published Jan. 15, 2014
  • Updated Jan. 16, 2014 at 11:41 AM UTC
Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Take the next step!

The second component of focusing on the process is related to training at your current fitness level, but is more focused on how you build your mileage, long runs, and workout volumes.

This best example of this is when coming back from an injury. Many runners who have to take a week or two off to heal from an injury immediately return to hard training in an attempt to hit their goal time. They’ll take the risk of getting injured again if it means they can regain their fitness faster. The problem with this approach is that it often leads to further injury. Not only do these runners not hit their goal time, but now they’re injured again.

RELATED: The Power Of Progressive Goal Setting

A better approach in this situation is to put your race goals on the backburner and focus on taking the next logical step in your training each week. Increase your volume only as much as your body is ready to handle and train to your current fitness level, not where you were or where you want to be on race day. Sure, this logical progression might not progress you fast enough to hit your goal on race day, but you’ll have months of consistent training behind you and, most importantly, you’ll be healthy and ready to keep training hard for the next race. And yes, there will always be other races.

Focus on the process, train consistently, stay healthy, and keep moving forward one day, week and month at a time.

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Jeff Gaudette

Jeff Gaudette

Jeff has been running for 13 years, at all levels of the sport. He was a two time Division-I All-American in Cross Country while at Brown University and competed professionally for 4 years after college for the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. Jeff's writing has been featured in Running Times magazine, Endurance Magazine, as well as numerous local magazine fitness columns.

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