How to Plan and Achieve your Running Goals?
A dream becomes a goal when action is taken toward its achievement.
We’ve entered a new year, yet most of us still train like it’s 1991. Very little thought is given to our goals, our training structure and to the way we structure our lives for success. I’m a big believer in planning as I see it as the roadmap to the achievement of my goals.
At this time of year, many of us set resolutions, the problem is, we never give thought to the process that will allow us to take the consistent actions necessary to make the resolution a reality. A resolution without a plan is hopeless.
The 5 New Rules of Fitness
1. Set goal(s)
Knowing what you want to achieve is the first step in the process. Now that you know where you want to go, it will be much easier to identify a route to get you there. This goal forms a vision that you will move towards on a daily basis.
2. Identify roadblocks
Roadblocks are things in life that will affect your training and limit your ability to achieve your goal. Examples of these roadblocks include long working hours, your social network, a current injury, poor nutrition etcetera.
Identifying roadblocks is important for two reasons:
- It will help you identify whether your goal is realistic given your current situation and allow you to realign your expectations if necessary without feeling bad about it
- It will allow you to plan accordingly
3. Plan your route
Now that you know what your goal is, have identified your “roadblocks” and aligned your expectations, it’s time to make a plan that will take you to your goal.
When developing a plan, it is important to consider a number of factors:
- The length of the event you are training for
- Your current fitness level
- Your training history
- The time you have available
- Your strengths and weaknesses
- Your roadblocks
- Your current body composition
- How and when will you will measure the plan's effectiveness
All these factors play a vital role in creating a plan that is consistently actionable. If you are not confident at putting a plan like this together, consider getting help from a more experienced friend or from an experienced coach.
4. Measure your progress
Once you have your plan and have been implementing it, it is good to track its effectiveness. At regular intervals you should schedule progress checks to see you are still on route. These checks can be in the form of secondary races, time trials and testing. I use all three methods but are big fan of the testing process as it is in a controlled environment. It is very accurate and allows me to easily see what could be steering us off course and how to correct it.
5. Review, refine and repeat
After completing a progress check or achieving your goal, it’s good to review the process you took to get to where you are now. Look at the things that worked, the things you could do better the next time and refine your plan as you move forward.
As you can see the training process, the achievement of goals and lifestyle design are all evolving processes. The key to success in any area is focusing on what’s important and being consistent in your application.