Table of Contents
As runners, we all have unique backgrounds and different reasons for getting into the sport. The following seven habits are behaviors the most highly effective runners—not necessarily the fastest runners—have in common and practice every day. Make them work for you and become a more motivated, happier and fitter athlete.
1. They set various types of goals.
Goals vary and will likely change as you improve and gain more running experience. Newer runners may want simply to complete the distance for the first time, while more experienced runners may be focused on running a personal best or hitting a desired time. Regardless of your intentions, there are two types of goals: outcome goals and process goals. Highly effective runners recognize the importance of both.
Outcome goals are what most people think of when they talk about goal setting. These are the intended result of all your hard work and preparation and are specific (e.g., lose weight, finish the race) and measurable (e.g., finish in 2 hours, place top 5 in age group). Thinking about outcome goals induces both excitement and nerves. But they’re also largely out of your control. And let’s be honest, if you knew exactly how fast you were going to run on race day, a lot of the fun would be taken out of the whole experience. That’s what makes outcome goals so exciting. And nerve-racking.
Equally as—or even more important—than outcome goals are process goals. They’re not as exciting and probably won’t make you nervous when you think about them. But the great news is that process goals, unlike outcome goals, are completely in your control. And the more of them you achieve with regularity, the more confidence you’ll gain.
These two kinds of goals are linked. The more successful you are at accomplishing your process goals—habitual actions you can check off every day, such as getting 8 hours of sleep a night, making healthy food choices at mealtime, doing core-strengthening exercises daily, etc.—the better you’ll set yourself up for achieving your outcome goals.