If we want to improve and grow we have to set goals. Without a SMART goal, we may not even know what success looks like for us!
This isn't about winning the Olympics or breaking World Records. This is about breaking our own personal records, becoming the strongest version of ourselves and really getting the most out of our running.
By following the SMART goal framework below you can add real purpose to your running and inject the motivation needed to push the boundaries!
This is the first step in setting any goal. Saying you just want to improve your running is not specific enough and is way too vague to give you a solid target to work towards.
So ask yourself what EXACTLY do you want to achieve? e.g. Run 5 miles without stopping, run your first marathon.
This part of the SMART goal framework lends itself very well to running as it's possible to measure almost everything.
By making it measurable you will know exactly how you are tracking towards your goal and when you have achieved it.
If you're training for a distance you have run before then setting a target time will rejuvenate the challenge for you and will encourage you to put in the effort and enthusiasm required to improve.
It's important to set goals that stretch you, an easy way to do this is to set a target time which you would find a challenge and then reduce it by a further minute. However, it is also important not to set ridiculous goals.
If you're still quite young in your running journey, setting a goal of finishing a marathon in under 3 hours could lead to you losing hope and giving up entirely.
Your goal should scare you slightly, not make you burst out laughing.
This part of the SMART framework is all about keeping your goals relevant to you. Why do you want to run?
It's not always about distances and times, if you run to be social then why not make it a goal to attend every meeting at your local running club.
This final aspect ties everything together. Set a deadline, without one your goal is nothing more than another "one day I'll do it".
Pick an event, pay the entry fee and get yourself locked in. You can also post on social media to keep yourself accountable to your friends.
If you find that you're achieving your goal before the deadline then readjust it and strap yourself in for greatness!
SMART Goal Template
Write this sentence down on paper and stick it somewhere you'll see it.
I will achieve [specific goal] by running [measured result]. I believe it is attainable and it is relevant to me because [relevant reason]. I will achieve this goal by [timed deadline].
Good luck with your smart goals and most importantly, have fun!