Having a goal is very important, but are you setting smart running goals?
Set smart running goals because, "If you aren't improving, then you are getting worse." This statement was simply put by a former coach of mine. I find that to be true in athletics, as well as in life. Smart goals can focus on your running and personal life.
S. M. A. R. T. is an acronym that we use to help set high quality running goals. I use them for the cross country runners I coach, for my running objectives, and other things like financial goals or even family life.
Every week I set new goals for myself. A great objective for running would be, "Run three times this week. Each run must be 25 minutes or longer." After I think of a goal, I make sure it meets every requirement.
You can download your own free printable copies of the tips4running smart goals here. I set my goals every week, and keep one of these print-outs in my wallet. I made the goal sheet about the size of a dollar bill.
Here is a bad example of a goal I might set. "Run some more." Now I will make it into a Smart Running Goal by breaking it down for each part of S.M.A.R.T.
Is it Specific? No. I would have to change it to maybe, "Run four times."
Is it Measurable? Yes, but it could be better. I could change it to, "Run four times. Each run must be 20 minutes or longer."
Is it Achievable? That depends. If you know your weekly schedule won't allow for this time commitment, you may have to adjust the goals. I could alter it. "Run three times. Each run must be 25 minutes or longer." I decreased the number of times this week, but increased the amount of time ran.
Is it Realistic? Don't set a goal too high. You might set yourself up for disappointment. Also, don't undermine yourself. There is always room for improvement. I believe my goal is realistic so I won't change it. Remember that even if your ultimate goal is to complete a marathon. Stay small with a smart goal as you work towards a larger goal.
Set a Timetable. This part is huge. I said, "Run three times," but I need to add the timeframe. My final goal now looks like this. "Run three times this week. Each run must be 25 minutes or longer."
Now I have a smart running goal. It meets all the requirements, and I feel I am much more focused on what I need to achieve. I use these things for family life too. A good example is, "I will read bedtime stories to both children five times this week." I do this so my wife can get a break on some nights.
There are five different things you can write on your SMART goal sheet. First is the Ultimate Goals Section. You can always have that final goal in your mind. Write your ultimate goals down like, "Complete a marathon," or, "Run 500 miles this off-season." Break these goals down by being smart. Work week to week, and soon you will achieve something you didn't dream possible. Be smart!
Following the Ultimate Goal are the four different sections of your Tips4Running.com goal sheet. Fitness focuses on your running. Food helps you stay on track with what you eat. Finance is very important for me, because I have limited funds as a teacher. My wife is home with the kids so we have to be very financially responsible with our money. Finally, there is a section for family and friends. You want to be there for the important people in your life.
Print out your own free sheets. Write down what you want to accomplish. Now get out that door and start working towards your goals.