How to select—and hit—the perfect goal for you.

19 04 2011

By Jeff Galloway
Image by Daniel Stolle
From the May 2011 issue of Runner’s World

Pursuing a goal is a great way to get motivated and unlock your potential—as long as it’s a target tailored to your abilities and ambitions. The trick is to set objectives that are within reach—if they’re too ambitious, you risk frustration, burnout, and injury. If you currently run two or three times per week, take aim at one of these goals and you’ll become a stronger, more confident runner.

GOAL: Double your long run
ACHIEVE IT: Long runs boost endurance, burn fat, and make shorter runs feel easier. Every other weekend, slow your normal short-distance pace by three minutes per mile, and increase the distance of your run by one to two miles. On alternate weekends, run half the distance of your current long run.

GOAL: Run your first race
ACHIEVE IT: A race brings meaning to every workout. Prepare by increasing the length of your long run until you can comfortably cover the race distance. On one of your shorter weekly workouts, run part of the course, especially the more challenging segments.

GOAL: Fit into your too-small jeans
ACHIEVE IT: The longer you’re on your feet, the more calories you’ll burn. If you normally run continuously for 20 minutes, add several one-minute running/one-minute walking segments and gradually increase your time to 45 to 60 minutes. Walk for 10 minutes to cool down. On nonrunning days, walk up to 60 minutes.

GOAL: Run consistently for a month
ACHIEVE IT: Schedule four workouts on your weekly planner, such as, run for 30 to 45 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday; do a long run (or race) on Saturday; and a short 20-to 30-minute run on Sunday. If you miss a workout, don’t beat yourself up—just make sure to run the next one!

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