A blog by runners. For runners.

Goals to take your running to the next level, have more fun


Goals are crucial for running success.

They keep you motivated and inspired — and get you out the door when you’re feeling lazy. Just like all runners are different, running goals vary drastically from person to person. They can be based on time, distance, frequency — or none of the above. Your goal may be to run 30 marathons before you turn 30 — or 60 before 60. Or it may be to run a 5K without walking.

For beginners, it’s best to start with a small goal that’s only slightly of reach. One you’ll have to work for, that’s for sure, but not one that seems impossible. Once you feel more confident in your running, you can aim for some pretty fun goals, including:

  • Running “X” number of races per year. Pick a number, any (reasonable) number. It can be your age, number of pounds you want to lose, the amount of donuts you want to eat, etc. Make it fun or make it serious. Choosing a number of races to run per year is a great way to plan your training schedule. You can decide on how to train based on when the races fall in your calendar.
  • Running a race in all 50 states (or on all the continents). Both of these goals are popular with marathoners, however, they can be set for any distance or distances. It is a great way to travel, and adding on a few days after the race to see the sites can make the whole experience more enjoyable. You don’t have to stick with the United States or with the continents, either. Perhaps you want to run along all the ocean coasts. Or you’re interested in only running in extreme conditions. Or you want to run at all the most beautiful places on our list. Just like above, make this location-based goal your own.
  • Setting a personal record time goal. Each race you run will not be a personal record — nor should it be. But setting one race per training cycle as a “record-maker” is the perfect way to push yourself and stay balanced. Pick a distance you are familiar with and go all out in that race. Meeting a time goal sure does feel good.
  • Running a new distance. The greatest thing about setting goals is that you have to put aside fear and just go for it. If you have always wanted to try a particular distance but are scared, look at a training plan week-by-week. It’s much easier to meet a goal when you break it up into smaller chunks. Looking at the final distance could be overwhelming, stress you out, and derail your training.
  • Streaking. Not in the nude sense (unless that’s what you’re into) but in terms of numbers. Commit to running every day, all season long. If that’s too much, do it for a month — or even just a week. It doesn’t have to last forever — and you don’t have to go long and hard each and every day — just lace up and hit the road for at least 10 minutes.
  • Fundraising for a race. Running goals do not necessarily have to relate to your actual running skills. You can get just as much (if not more) motivation by running for a charity or cause that means something to you. Running with a purpose is a great way to get the word out about a cause close to your heart and also encourage others to do the same.
Goals help us to see the meaning behind why we get up every day and run. We can set big and small goals. No matter the size, they are important in helping us love our sport of running. What are some of your short and long term running goals?
Written by Danielle Bressoud.