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Running Goals That Aren’t Races

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A great list of running goals you can set for yourself that aren't races. Running Goals That Aren’t Races www.runnerclick.com

Many runners start their running careers out by signing up for a race, and making it a goal to just complete the race without. Spending money on a race registration and marking the date on the calendar often serves as excellent motivation to get folks up and out on the roads, trails, and treadmills to train. If your goal is to run a race, that’s great! But there are definitely some other goals associated with running that you can make! The following goals are especially great if you are just starting out and the thought of running a race is just too daunting.

Run A Certain Distance Without Stopping

Perhaps you have always wanted to run a 5k or a 10k, but really are just more interested in being able to run the actual distance than actually run it in a race. We say, go for it! There are lots of training plans (like those found here and here) that will prepare you for this distance. Running three miles around your neighborhood or city without stopping can be powerful! Another great distance goal that really brings a feeling of accomplishment once you achieve it is running double digit miles – i.e. running 10 or more miles at once without stopping.

Run A Certain Mile Pace

You can also make speed a goal. Many of us have horrible memories from the timed mile back in gym class, but these days, your timing and preparing yourself to hit a certain pace can be on your own terms. The easiest way to do a timed mile or mile pace is on the track. Start by incorporating some light up-tempo work into your normal running.  Increasing your effort, picking up your legs a little more and pumping your arms a little faster for a set amount of time throughout the run are ways to help increase your speed. So, for example, if you’re doing a 30 minute run, try doing one or all of the above for a full minute every 5-10 minutes. Then, once or twice a week (but never on consecutive days!) and if you have access to a track, challenge yourself by setting a goal pace for your mile and trying to reach it. Or if you can’t make it to a track, just mark off a mile distance on your regular running route, and memorize where it starts and ends. Then try hitting your goal mile time when you run that mile stretch of your route.

Complete a Running Streak

Suppose you simply want to make a goal to run a certain number of days in a row. That can be a great goal, especially if you are used to running every other day, or every couple of days. Start off aiming to run 3 days in a row. If you have never ran that many days in a row before, make sure you alternate your mileage. For instance, if you choose to run a longer distance on one of the days, reel it in the next day so it’s not as long. This will ensure that you have enough energy and motivation to make it to that third day! Once you’ve completed three days in a row, bump it up to 4, then 5, then eventually get to a whole week! But unless you are a superhero, DO take a rest day at some point! Your body NEEDS to rest and recover so that you do not face burnout or injury.

You can also make it a goal to run a certain number of days each month, or even a certain amount of miles each month.  On of the most popular running streaks is simply running at least 1 mile everyday for a set number of days, or for some, for as long as you can!  For more running streak ideas, check out popular running bloggers on social media to see which monthly running challenges they are taking on, and hop on board with them! 

Run in Every State (or Town, Continent, etc.)

If you travel for work, or just like to get out and see the world, then make it a point to start going out for a run (with a buddy! Safety first!) in every city, town, or place you travel to! This is not only a great way to experience new places, but it can be a great challenge and really fuel your “wanderlust.” You can also make it a fun goal to run in every state in the U.S.  Along with this, make it a goal to buy something iconic from that state, or something to help you remember that state/location’s run.  Be sure to hang a map up on your wall and put a pin in every location you’ve gone for a run, and let the desire to completely cover the map in pins be your motivation!

Incorporate Different Running Workouts

Unless you are an elite or super serious about your running times, some runners don’t really follow a strict training plan. Now, don’t get me wrong, an easy run is a BEAUTIFUL thing. Getting in miles upon miles at your own casual pace while watching the sunrise on a Saturday morning can easily be the highlight of your week.  However, it is nice to change things up every once in awhile too.  An easy goal to set for yourself, if you tend to just get out and run x-number of miles and then be done, is to incorporate different types of runs and running workouts into your weekly running routine. For example, throw in a tempo workout (a workout in which you warm up for one or two miles, then run at an ‘up-tempo’ pace, meaning about 70-80% of your max for a few miles, then take it back down to a more leisurely pace), a speed workout on the track (short and fast!), or find a good set of hills and challenge yourself to hill-repeats. It might help to sit down at the beginning of each week and write out exactly what you want to do that week. Therefore, if you plan ahead and know that Tuesday you are going to change things up and do a speed workout and Friday you’re gonna try your hand at some hill repeats, then you can mentally prepare yourself. This’ll make it easier to achieve your goals!


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