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General Running • May 21, 2016

Running Goals

By Tina Muir

Runners love goals.

Scratch that.

People love goals.

We love to set ourselves these challenges, and they have a magic about them. They hold us accountable in moments where we are considering quitting. They give us an extra level of motivation when we are in the middle slog of our marathon training schedule. They keep us focused and hopeful during our greatest struggles.

That being said, over the last few years, I have moved away from goals.

I have been going into most of my races with no time goals, no expectations, and no pressure, and I encouraged others to do the same.

Yet, this was partly a lie.

I did have a goal.

One MASSIVE goal.

You know one of those goals that when you first set it as your intention, when you first look at it, you think it is impossible.

One of those scary goals that you almost do not want to admit (or maybe you don’t) because it just seems so outrageous, so far away, that if you do not make it, you do not want to feel like a failure.

Yes, I want you to choose one of those, one only, and write it down.

I started running at age 14. My coach did not push me very hard, and he allowed me to progress naturally. I wanted more, I wanted to be better, but he was smart. He wanted me to run for LIFE, not just for the next few years.

But almost from the very beginning, I knew what my ultimate goal would be.

I wanted to represent Great Britain in a World Championship. It did not have to be the Olympics, but I wanted to hold that jersey in my hands knowing I earned it.

So for years, when I was struggling with motivation, when I was so tired I could barely lift my legs, I would tell myself that someday, it would be worth it. Someday I would reach that ultimate goal, and it would feel SO good.

I had many setbacks, but I reminded myself that the longer it took, the more near-misses I had, the better it would feel when I finally accomplished it.

On March 26th, 2016, I accomplished my goal.

I represented Great Britain in the World Half Marathon Championships, and it was even better than I imagined it would be.

One of the greatest moments of my entire life, let alone my running career.

When people ask me what my greatest running moment is, I used to hesitate, scanning my mind through my good races, “hmmmmm, which one was the best?”

I never had a clear answer. It would almost depend on the day.

Now, I do not even hesitate.

That was the greatest moment of my running career… far.

So, what does this mean for you as a runner?

Well, as much as I would much prefer that in a day to day situation, runners do not use goals, that we allow our bodies to tell us what is capable of that day, and to just do our best, allow the result to take care of itself…..

I challenge you to pick one goal. Just one.

Something that seems almost impossible right now. Something that will take you many years to reach.

Hold that in your heart, and think of that during moments of struggle. Believe that somehow, someday, you will accomplish it, then let it go (for now).

Continue your training as you would, reserving that goal for only those darkest moments.

Achieving it will not be about one run or even one season, it will be about the hours and hours and hours you put in that build up over time.

Trust in yourself that you are doing the work, and someday you will get there, and trust me when I say that when you do, it will be one of your life’s greatest moments.

You can do this ☺


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