Things to Consider When Creating Your Running Bucket List

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Creating a running or race bucket list Things to Consider When Creating Your Running Bucket List

Oxford Dictionary defines a bucket list as “a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.” Bucket lists are meant to be attainable, while also pushing you outside of your comfort zone. But why should someone create a running or race bucket list?

It can be so easy to get caught up in the hamster wheel of life, just trying to cross items off your daily “To Do” list. Creating a tangible bucket list forces you to think about what you really want to achieve in your lifetime. And on days when your motivation is wavering, you can remember your goals and it can provide extra inspiration.

Real vs. Fake Bucket Lists

First and foremost, ask yourself what do I really want to accomplish in my lifetime? Write down everything that comes to mind. The possibilities are endless!

Now look at this list of things you want to achieve. Are they something you are truly and really willing to see through to reality? If you can’t see yourself actually purchasing a plane ticket, filling out the registration forms, putting in hours of training, and doing all the necessary work behind achieving certain goals, then this isn’t something you truly want. Your goals should be within the realm of possibility but they should also fill you with excitement and enthusiasm.

Don’t dilute your true bucket list with the things that “might be” fun to achieve. You can place these “might be” items at the bottom under a tagline along the lines of “If I’m bored, have lots of extra money and time, and feel the need to accomplish more” you can tackle these. But for now, keep your running/race bucket list just things you truly want to actualize.

Ask Around

If you haven’t created this type of list before, it can be a challenge to think of every possible item that you may want to accomplish. So, ask around! Find out what other runners have on their bucket list at races, running clubs, researching the best races in your state, etc. There are a lot of different “bucket list” races so think about what makes a bucket list item to you. Do you want to run a race on the beach? Do you want to run with wildlife? Do you want to race near historical monuments? Do you want to train and complete an obstacle race? Anything you can think of to get your mind spinning and imagining is encouraged!


Next, this bucket list can be a single long list with all of the things, experiences, goals, and achievements you want to carry out in random order. Or, you can think about organizing your bucket list based on certain criteria. And in organizing, ideas of other goals may be sparked. There are numerous ways to organize.

It may be helpful to organize by race or distance. Meaning, list sub-goals beneath the specific distance to help you focus on everything you want to accomplish in that category. For instance:


  • Complete a sub-4 marathon
  • Race destination marathons in Chicago, New York, and London
  • Qualify for Boston

Other possibilities for organization include by location. For instance, you can break down all the races you want to run in your local area as well as all the races you want to run in your lifetime. Or you could organize by “East Coast Races” and “West Coast Races”. Or “International Races” and “Home Country Races”. The possibilities abound in organizing by geography and location.

Another way to organize is by time. For instance, This Year’s Goals, 5 Year Goals, Lifetime Goals. Or it could be seasonal. Winter Races I Want to Run, Fall Marathons I Want to Compete In, etc. Organizing by time is particularly helpful because your bucket list should include a mix of short and long term goals.

Repetition and Visualization

Put your running or race bucket list where you will see it often. You can hang a copy in your closet, beside your running shoes. You can put a copy beside your gym bag or in your gym locker. You can place a copy at your desk. Repeatedly seeing these goals help you to ingrain them into your memory. Visualizing yourself knocking out these epic achievements should fill you with excitement. So, think about them and visualize them often! Again, the most important aspect of any bucket list is intention and the will to follow through. And by consistently visualizing yourself achieving certain goals, you build up your confidence and the likelihood that you will take the necessary actions to make them a reality.

One thing you may find as you go about completing your bucket list is that more goals will materialize. For instance, say you run a race in Arizona and have an amazing time. While at the expo you find out there is a half marathon held every year in the Grand Canyon. This sounds like something that’s right up your alley…add it to the list! Counter-intuitive as it may seem, the goal of the bucket list is not to complete it. Creating a bucket list is about helping you live your best life and to make time for the things that are really important to you.


  1. Oxford Dictionaries, Bucket list, Website