How To Be A Running Goal-Digger
By: Kimberly Underwood
So you’ve been running for a while, and loving it. But maybe you’re not seeing the improvement you’ve hoped for as you’ve been running. Maybe you’ve been stuck at the same level for a while- and you have been wanting to go to another level. Well- there’s hope! That’s probably the most exciting thing about running- anyone can improve. If my husband can go from running a 4:10 first marathon to a 2:23 marathon- then you hitting that 5k goal doesn’t sound so wild. You just have to set some goals and put yourself in the position to start hitting them. 

Here’s how to get from Point A to Point B (literally & figuratively):

1. Spend some time evaluating where you are now- and where you would like to be. Sometimes it helps to talk to a friend/mentor- they can see you and your fitness better than you can at times and they can push you further than you thought possible.

2. Set tangible goals.You know those goals that are so lofty and vague that there is no tangible way to measure the results (i.e. I would like to be as fast as Meb). Yah- let’s not do that. The best way to be successful in accomplishing goals is actually setting ones that you can measure success and that are within reach (i.e. I would like to run a 3:14 marathon).
3. Figure out how to get from Point A to Point B. What good are goals if you don’t have an action plan to get you there. Get with a coach/mentor and have them help you figure out what you need to be doing to push past any plateaus and start making new gains- in distance or speed.
4. Commit to a schedule.It’s not enough to have good intentions and a lot of positive thinking. If it was, I would just be sitting on the couch eating Krispy Kremes dreaming myself thin and a gold medal Olympian marathoner. At some point, you have to buy in to the goal and really commit to getting there. How are you going to make this plan a reality? What are you willing to do/give up/facilitate in order for this to happen.

5. Get outside your comfort zone. You won’t be hitting new and crazy goals by doing exactly what you have been doing for years. Mix it up, baby.
6. Get mentored. Don’t be afraid to make yourself accountable to someone. All the elites have coaches and mentors- and they have the discipline of a Tibetan monk- so what makes you think you will be successful in reaching your goal if you are out there going rogue.
7. Set a deadline.When is this goal going to happen? By putting a deadline on it, you create the urgency and the need to be accountable and faithful to the process to make this goal a reality.
8. Trust the process.There will be amazing days- where you are on top of the world (Is it possible that I may accidentally in my goal marathon qualify for the Olympic Trials?) and days when you think that your speed workout resembles power-walking at a retirement home. Don’t give up on your goals and things you have committed to because of some bad days. Regroup and stay positive. Everyone has off days.
9. Write this goal everywhere. Or tattoo it on your body (just kidding). But seriously- see the goal. Have it be something you wake up to and go to bed to. It needs to be so ingrained in your consciousness. Tell people about it- let them be on your team supporting you to reach this goal.

I have been setting goals in my running and it has paid off in huge ways. I have enjoyed my running more and have been able to see myself hitting big goals that I wasn’t sure were possible. I have some new big goals – and I can’t wait to make them a reality. Hope you set some crazy goals for the year and commit in the day to day to making them happen! 

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