How to Nail Your 2017 Running Goals

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Image by Swaraj Tiwari via Unsplash

It seems to me that there are two types of people: those who love New Year’s resolutions and those who hate them!

Which side of the fence are you on? (Me? I’m a fan!)

Personally, I see New Year’s resolutions as big goals that keep me moving forward for the year.

I set goals (resolutions) for most areas of my life at the beginning of each year, and this year is no exception.

Want to make some serious progress in your running life in 2017?

Set some big goals and keep working on them from now until New Year’s Eve.

Five Tips for Nailing Your Long Term Running Goals

Be Specific: When it comes to any goal, long or short, specificity is key. Saying you want to run more in 2017 is the farthest thing from specific as it gets. Think about it for a minute: what does running “more” even mean? Whatever it means to you, make THAT your goal. The more specific you can make your running goal, the better. Why?

Work Backwards: If you have a specific running goal in place, you can now work backwards to figure out the steps you’ll have to take to reach your goal. If you want to run 1200 miles in 2017, you know you need to run 100 miles per month or 23 miles per week. Breaking that big goal into something smaller and more manageable helps the big goal seem much more attainable. I don’t know about you, but thinking about running 1200 miles is a bit daunting to me. But 23 miles in a week? That’s doable.

Write Your Goals Down and Review Them Daily: Out of sight, out of mind right? Don’t let your goals for 2017 disappear from your stream of consciousness. Taking just one or two minutes per day to think about your goals can make all the difference between achieving them and letting them fall by the wayside. Set a reminder on your phone. Put your goals on a sticky note and put the note next to your computer where you’ll see it every day. Or use a dry erase marker to write your goals on your bathroom mirror so you’ll see them every time you brush your teeth. Whatever you have to do, make sure you remind yourself of your yearly goals on a daily basis.

Change Course if Necessary: Setting goals for 12+ months from now is a bit of an inexact science. As you’re going along, it’s ok to reassess your goals. That doesn’t make you a failure; it makes you smart. If you have a mileage goal for the year, and you get a little injury that requires some extra rest, trying to make up for the miles missed so you can hit your mileage goal is just foolish! It’s ok to adjust your goals mid-way through the year because of factors that are out of your control or because circumstances change.

Have Fun: If you’re going to be working toward a goal for 12+ months, it helps to have some fun along the way. Recruit a few running friends to join you, and hold each other accountable. Set up “rules” for what happens when one of you misses a run date because of an unexcused absence. Or have rewards for yourself at certain markers along the way, ie a massage when hitting the monthly goal, a new pair of shoes when you get the goal three straight months, or an ice cream cone for hitting your target for the week. The reward doesn’t have to be big, just something to keep the process fun.

Start Today

So, what are your running goals for 2017?

There is no better time to set a running goal for the next year than right now.

Set a big goal and follow the tips I outlined in this post, and you might be surprised at how much of a difference a year of incremental progress can actually make.

By Denny Krahe

Denny Krahe is a Certified Athletic Trainer and Running Coach specializing in helping runners prevent common running injuries and being able to run pain free. He is also the host of the "Diz Runs With..." podcast.