Whatever your experience in the running field, from absolute beginner to professional competitor, setting yourself goals and targets to work towards is essential. Goals will get you up in the morning, keep you motivated and help you to succeed by giving a purpose and meaning to your training programme.
Keep it real
Your goals need to be challenging but they should also be achievable. Setting unattainable goals means you’re more likely to fall at the first hurdle, leaving you feeling thoroughly fed up. Take it step by step, and with a little time and patience, you’ll start to make noticeable progress.
Setting detailed goals means you’ll know how much you need to do to reach them, and you’ll get a great sense of achievement when you do. If you’re running the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of a good cause, decide the minimum amount of money you want to raise. If you’re doing it to get in shape, decide how much weight you’d like to lose. If you’re trying to better a past performance, set yourself a time limit for the race.
If your goal is a long way off, try setting smaller, short-term goals along the way. If completing the Virgin Money London Marathon is your ultimate dream, don’t make it the first race you run. Compete in shorter, local events every few months to keep your training on track and monitor your progress. Remember, if you’re a member of the marathon community you can update your list of goals on your profile to reflect where you are in your programme.
Make friends and motivate people
You don’t have to train alone. Use our marathon community to find a running group or training partner in your area. Encourage one another, keep yourselves motivated and take advantage of having a support network around you.
Write home about it
Write your goals down and post them up all over the house. Putting them on paper will set them in stone – they’ll always be in the back of your mind, keeping you focussed on why it’s so important to stick to your programme.
Don’t be too strict with yourself if you don’t see immediate results of your hard work. It’s healthy to take days off here and there from your training and allow yourself the odd treat. Why not use a day’s rest as a reward for meeting your targets, building it into your programme from the start? Remember, the Virgin Money London Marathon can be as much about having fun as about working hard to achieve your goals.