Why (and How) Runners Should Create a Vision Board
A running-specific vision board can be a powerful tool to define and achieve one’s goals. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a vision board is “a collage of images and words representing a person’s wishes or goals, intended to serve as inspiration or motivation.” When a person looks at their vision board they should have clear goals of what they are trying to achieve and they should feel positive thoughts surrounding those goals.
As a group, I would make the case that most runners are an ambitious bunch and have goals. For some, this is a new PR. For others, their goal is to lose weight. Still others may want to qualify for Boston or run a race in every state. (For other running goals that aren’t races check out this article!) But for many runners, goals are only vague outlines of things they want to do. For instance, I’m sure most runners would like “to run faster” or “be stronger.”
If you define the parameters of a goal you would like to accomplish, it is more likely to happen. So, rather than having an ambiguous, “Eventually, I want to run a destination race somewhere cool” goal, you could say, “I want to run a half marathon in a Costa Rican jungle within the next three years.”
Once you define it, you are more likely to start the planning portion. You will keep an eye out for cheap airfare. You will increase your training and long runs. You will look for lodging and fun excursions in the area. And suddenly you realize that your vague goal has taken form and you have sketched out a road map of how to make it a reality.
Another parameter to consider are time frames. Should your vision board cover one year, five years, or lifetime goals? In general, I think most people probably have a combination.
What Goes on a Vision Board?
It can be very powerful to define the goals that we want and then see those goals on a regular basis, such as on a vision board. So, what should your vision board look like?
This collage of images and words does not have to be limited to magazine clippings. Be creative! It can include other tangible items that inspire you or remind you of what you want to accomplish. On my vision board, I included a race number from a trail run in which I had previously competed. Written on the side I Sharpied in, “Top 3 Female under 45 Next Year”.
There could also be old photographs, ribbons, newspaper clippings, race fliers, glitter, fabric, you name it. There are no hard and fast rules for what should be included on your board, just that it should be personal and inspiring to you.
Create an Outline
It is helpful to sketch out an outline of what goes on the vision board before you begin snipping and gluing. You can start by making a list of your goals.
- Destination race in a major city such as London or Paris
- Destination half marathon race in a tropical location such as Costa Rica in 2019
- Enter the lottery and gain an entry to run Big Sur
- Run a marathon in under 4:30
- Swim 1 mile to increase cross-training endurance
- Buy a decent watch that helps me with my split times
- Be featured yearly in Nashville Fit Magazine (photo from 2017 used)
- Run trails at more state parks in 2018
- Compete in at least one obstacle or trail race per year
- Inspire others to live healthy lifestyles whether that is through Instagram, writing articles, or something as casual as chatting with others about their goals
Another thing that could be helpful as you are compiling your outline is to look at what your goals or resolutions are in your “normal” life. Then, think about how you can allow running to help you achieve them. For example, if your New Year’s resolution was to be more social and stop being such a homebody you can say, “Join a running club and attend at least 2 runs per month.” Or if your bucket list includes “tour Greece”, why not do this by foot by competing in the Athens Marathon? If your goal is to lose 15 pounds, running can certainly help with that as well!
Other ideas of goals may include:
- Specific personal record (PR) times
- Special races in which you wish to participate
- Challenge yourself to run farther distances such as “run a marathon” or “compete in an ultra”
- Raise money for a cause you are passionate about and try your hand at being a charity runner
- Attend a running retreat or camp
- Try something new with running such as being a volunteer pace leader
- Join a training group of individuals working towards a similar goals as yours
Give It Prominence!
Finally, place your vision board in a prominent place. It is helpful to see your goals often. The images and words that you have put on your board should elicit feelings for you. These feelings are a powerful tool. Thoughts become actions. And making your dreams a reality should feel good!
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