Goal Setting


-In our training groups, we focus on change. Our NoBo slogan is “running changes everything,” because you join this group to transform yourself. You know now from being a member that there are all different kinds of people, with different abilities and different reasons for being there. But you all share the common denominator of wanting to change your lifestyle, to be healthier and happier, to challenge yourself.
-It’s important to set personal goals at the beginning of this journey, to keep them in mind as you move forward through the training, and to make adjustments along the way.
-It’s also important to revisit your goals and set goals for the race at the end, based on what you’ve accomplished so far and what you hope to accomplish in the end.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.” – Yogi Berra
You have probably already surprised yourself with what you are able to do at NoBo. I love this quote because if you aren’t continually pushing your limits and setting goals, you might never realize how much you can do! In my experience as a runner and a coach, we can often do a lot more than we think we can.

Types of Goals:

-Subjective Goals: focus is not on specific performance, instead they focus on something like ‘trying one’s best,’ or ‘enjoying the experience’
-Objective Goals: performance-based, such as running a 5k in under 35 minutes
-Performance vs. Outcome goals: focus on statistics that will lead to improvement, not outcome like placement relative to other competitors
*We encourage you to set objective, performance goals (recreational runners are usually good at this!)

Importance of Goals:

-Having a goal can help provide that extra bit of motivation you need during training
-Setting a goal lets you know exactly what needs to be done throughout your training

Example: 5k goal of 35 minutes is 11:17 pace. That goal will inform your training: try to run a half mile at that pace, then a mile, etc. If you goal is to finish the race without walking, same idea.

*Adjusting goals: this is a good idea! Don’t be afraid to reassess your goals. If you set a goal pace and are hitting it easily, don’t be afraid to experiment with a faster pace in training. Likewise, if you pace feels too difficult, adjust for that too.

Levels of Goals:

            -When trying to set a new goal, it helps to have different levels or tiers

*Break it down by timing: Have a goal for each week or two week block to run a certain amount of miles or complete a each workout. This will help you mentally to make progress, achieving smaller goals along the way that will lead you to your main race goal. We call these “process goals.” Process goals are specific steps that lead to a performance goal, like a completing a shorter distance, or a certain distance without walk breaks, etc.
-Create three tiers of goals for your race.
*Tier 1= what you could run if everything comes together, you have the ideal race, and perform even better than planned
*Tier 2= more like how you expect you will perform based on your training
*Tier 3= not what you hoped for, but a performance you could still be happy with

How to Set your Goals:

-Be S.M.A.R.T.: Research has shown that many athletes set goals that are unspecific, immeasurable, or too outcome-based, like winning.

*Specific: Goals should be clearly defined, not too general (like “I want to be healthy”). The more precise your goal, the easier it becomes to track your progress. For a race, a specific time goal is usually appropriate.

*Measurable: Have a definitive objective, such as a specific time goal. Running makes the measurement part easy. Process goals help out here—don’t obsess too much on your one race result; instead, set goals for the execution of your training and measure your progress along the way. Examples: run/walk intervals, miles per week, minutes per mile, etc.

*Action-Oriented: Just by joining the training group and taking an interest in better goal-setting, you are taking action to achieve your goals! Now you just have to commit to the training schedule and know exactly what you need to do to achieve your goal. Take it a week at a time. Don’t look at it as 10 weeks of running. Looking ahead in the training may be overwhelming. But breaking the program down into smaller, more manageable chunks will help you mentally.

*Realistic: Set an attainable goal. If you set your sights too high, you’ll end up disappointed. Yet if your goal is not challenging enough, you’ll be bored and lose motivation. Having an attainable goal will improve your confidence in achieving that goal. The more you run, the more you’ll learn what those parameters are. If you set a goal that is too high, you may not achieve it and be disappointed despite having a good day. If you aim to low you may find your goal to easy to achieve and will be bored and may not feel satisfied with your performance after the race.

*Timely: Goals should be contained within a specific time frame. Terms like “eventually” and “someday” are too vague to be directly motivating. Long-term goals can be achieved using process goals. It’s ok to have lifetime goals, or things we hope to accomplish in the more distance future, but we need to set goals to work our way up there. You probably said in the past, “someday I’ll run a 5k.” That means a lot more now that you have taken action, started training, and can say, “on June 14th I will run a 5k!”

How to set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

-How do you set a goal when you are new to the race distance? Or new to running entirely? Or coming back from injury? Or when your fitness level has changed?

-These are tough questions because you are in unknown territory. The best you can do is develop an idea of what you expect in the following ways: First, use your training as a guide. By joining NoBo, you’ve been given a PROVEN program that wil help you achieve your goals. By trusting in this program, listening to your coaches and mentors, you can expect to accomplish what you set out to do.
- Plus, you have many miles to experiment with while you are training, which is the best indicator of what you will be able to do on race day. When you’re a beginning, it can difficult to approximate your fitness level and potential. You should also base your goal on what you really want to accomplish. Your goal then becomes a bridge between the objective past and the emerging future: What have you accomplished before and what do you hope to do next?

How to Stay on Track

-Encouragement from group members
-Help and support from your coaches
-Keep and utilize a training log (review your progress and accomplishments as you go and certainly before the race—this will build confidence)
-Mark milestones and reward yourself!
-Stay positive! If you are continually doubting yourself and downplaying the work you’ve put in, you are only hurting your chances of getting there. Use positive self-talk to keep your head in the right place.
-Display goals where you can see them everyday
-Use a goal setting sheet to break it down and have it in writing!
-Work for what you want. You need to want and believe in your goal, but if you don’t put in the work, you won’t get there just by wishing for it.

“Obstacles are those frightening things that become visible only when we take our eyes off our goals.” –Henry Ford


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