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Goal-Setting for the Seasons Ahead

Updated: May 14

As we move into the spring months, you are probably considering what your running goals are for the season. Whether you're a new or veteran runner, goal-setting directs your focus to what you really want to achieve and mobilizes your effort in that direction. In short, goal setting helps you stay motivated and train effectively.

Here are three tips to set goals that stick!

1. Choose goals that matter to you. Make sure your goals are something you care about. Consider – why does this goal matter to you? How does it align with who you are or who you want to be? It’s hard to stay committed to goals that don’t really matter to you, so think carefully about what your goals are and why.

2. Set different types of goals. As you enter the racing season, set different types of goals. Runners often focus on outcome goals (ex. finishing a race in a certain place in your age group) and performance goals (ex. completing a certain race distance or achieving a certain time).

Consider adding some process goals (ex.running a certain number of days a week or doing regular strength training) as well! Runners should set multiple types of goals, especially focusing on performance and process goals. Track your progress towards these goals somewhere you see regularly so you can revel in your progress!

3. Set goals that are challenging yet realistic. There is a sweet spot in goal-setting. You need to set goals that are challenging (so you don’t get complacent) yet realistic (so you don’t get discouraged). You should also re-evaluate your goals throughout the year to make sure they continue to be appropriately challenging. You may have set goals at some point in your running journey that are no longer serving you – they are now too easy or too hard or no longer as important to you. Regular re-evaluation of your goals can help you stay motivated!

Goals can help you stay motivated and train effectively so take some time to consider how your current goals are serving you and what you hope to achieve as a runner moving forward!

This article originally appeared in the The Connection, TCM's weekly e-newsletter. Subscribe here.

Photo by Ben Garvin.


Hayley Russell, PhD, is a Certified Mental Performance Consultant, runner, and professor of health and exercise psychology at Gustavus Adolphus College. She is one of the team of Motion Experts TCM has gathered to help its subscribers and participants get the most out of their running. Have a question for Hayley: [email protected] or visit

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