Setting Goals for Running

Do you want to run a marathon? Do you want to run your first 5k?

Setting goals for running is an important part of the progression. What do you want to do in your running career?

For me, it has changed so much. In college, I wanted to be fast. I wanted to set records, earn All-American and be even faster. What I did for training, reflected what I wanted to be: Fast.

I did intervals twice a week, hill runs, lifted weights, ran double days and raced almost every weekend. Running was my job–and I had time for it to be my job. I didn’t have kids, I was not married, and all of my friends were on my team. It is what worked for me at that time.


After I graduated and found a career in teaching, I had to refocus my goals a little bit. I still didn’t have a family, so I had time, but I also now had a job. I had other things to worry about as well.

My focus shifted to marathon training and running my fastest marathon times. I didn’t train quite as hard as I did in previous years, but I still had time to do several long runs and sacrifice sleeping in mornings to lift and get another run in.

However, now, my goals have shifted again. It has been a hard shift for me.

I still want to be fast. I want to be able to win local fun runs and still chase down the dream of breaking 3 hours in a marathon, but as I get older, busier, and more unfocused, I realize those goals have to go away and I need new ones.


Now, I push a stroller sometimes or I race my 5-year-old on a bike. I wake up early and run with other mom’s who are juggling the same time issues that I am having.

I also have to realize that I am not as fast as I used to be. This 37-year-old body may feel like I am still 21, but it doesn’t recover or move quite like it used to. I have nagging injuries and I can’t just jump in my car after a run. I need to stretch and move around or I will get painful cramps in my calves and tight hamstrings.

I know this is my reality–but why is it so hard to absorb?

I have changed my goals numerous times in the past few years. I am now in the walk-run marathon mode–and I have been trying to master Jeff Galloway’s art. I find that I have time for this plan and I feel good about what I am doing–even my times at the end of my running.

I also have found several websites that make me realize what is important and what I should be trying to value, over what I have in the past. In the past, I strove to be fast and didn’t care about other things.

Now, I must practice the art of gratitude and using my run to find the things I am grateful for and appreciate the time with others. Another mother running blogger, Life as a Running Mom focuses on gratitude and ends her posts with things she is grateful for that day.

Hungry Runner is another blog that I am a fan of that really puts things in perspective. She has three small children and is still chasing personal goals–and some of those are new personal goals.

Setting running goals are a part of running. Everyone needs to know why they are running to perfect workouts and to really find the passion of running. However, those goals often change and sometimes, especially for me, it takes a little bit to realize those.

What are your goals? How often have they changed? Do you reflect on your pass and still chase those goals?

Share with me your thoughts. I would love to know how others deal with this and what goals look like for others.


One Comment on “Setting Goals for Running

  1. I can 100% relate to this Lauren! It is definitely hard to let go of previous goals/paces/accomplishments etc… but once I do, it is so freeing! As I get older and busier, it’s something I think I am getting better at (the letting go). I do still have a goal of qualifying for Boston, but an even bigger goal of keeping running good and enjoyable for myself. If and when the two ever collide, it’s a win win. I just love witnessing you on your journey of adjusting your running life, and it’s so good to see you happy. You are, and will always be, an amazing runner. What’s even better than that is an amazing runner, mom, wife, friend etc… balance is good!


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