Words by Georgina Burnett

Do you hanker after the good old days when you were new to running and everything about it was exciting? The time when running for just five minutes more than your previous session was enough to leave you on an all-day high? If you’re in danger of tiring of the same old routine, setting a new goal is just what you need. Choose one that stretches you or is completely different to what you’re used to and you and your running will return to the honeymoon period in no time. Here’s how to get goal-setting…

WHAT’S YOUR NORM?
Take a moment to sit down and identify your “norm”. List what time of day you run, how far, how long and your standard pace. If you already take part in races, what’s your typical distance?

CHOOSE YOUR GOAL
The best way to ensure you make a change without reverting back to your old ways is to strive for something completely new. You now know what your “norm” is, so go for the opposite.

Here are some suggestions:

1 Increase the miles
If you stick to the same distance day in, day out, or only compete in 5km or 10km races, set a goal that requires stamina and go for a half or full marathon. Upping your mileage each week will keep the spirit of running alive!

2 Go short
If you’ve always strived for long-distance races, you may be losing the will to put in the miles. If you never seem to work on increasing your pace for the shorter races, now is the time to do some speed work and set your sights on your fastest 10km.

3 Go off the beaten track
Pounding the pavements in the same way every time you run is bound to get tedious. Setting a fell-running challenge will give you a different running experience and will massively improve your fitness. Now you have a goal in mind, it’s important it feels real, achievable and realistic. It also needs to excite you. Set a date for an event you can train for and write your goal in bright, bold colours on a calendar. Visualise yourself reaching this goal – what it looks like, the sounds you can hear and what you’re feeling as you cross that finish line.

Assess your current fitness level and ability, and do the research to find out how much work will be involved in getting you to race day. Break your training down into weekly goals and evaluate how much time you’ll need to dedicate to the preparation. Yes, you should be pushing out of your comfort zone, but it’s crucial your expectations are realistic. If you rush your training for a long-distance event and up your mileage too quickly, you will most likely suffer an injury. If you decide your plan seems a bit far-fetched, there’s no harm in moving your goal date, so you can train sensibly. Remember, striving for your new goal will improve your fitness, focus your mind and put a spring backin your step – so enjoy the journey!