Let’s Talk About My Running Goals (Or Not)

I have been working on this post for quite some time now, trying to figure out how to organize my thoughts. It’s one that’s been sitting in my drafts for a while now and I have revisited a few times. I’ve jumped around from my thoughts on setting running goals, to why I don’t share my running goals, to my racing strategy. I’ve decided for this post I am going to just focus on why I don’t share my running goals and save the other two topics for another time.

I’ve had quite a few people ask me about my goal(s) for the marathon. I’m not blindly training without any goals, but so far I have not gone into training for any race with a “During this training cycle I am going to train for X pace to reach X finish time” type mentality. Following a training plan allows me to have structure to continue working towards something and I let things evolve naturally from it – this seemed to be the best course of action to continue for taking on my first marathon. My paces this training cycle have been determined by my heart rate zones that resulted from my VO2 Max test.

Very simply put, I choose not to share my goals on my blog because I don’t feel that it benefits my training in any way. For me, being accountable to my training is to complete my workouts as planned and be honest with myself when recording it in my training log. Training and racing should be tough, but since running is a hobby of mine and not a job, I am not going to push myself to the point where I feel burnt out or dread running. If I feel I am edging towards that, I know it’s time to reevaluate what I am doing and I may shift my goals accordingly.

I follow a lot of bloggers that do share their goals and that is completely fine if that’s what works for them. However, runners are a very supportive group and I have found that they are able to cheer another runner on, offer support after a workout that doesn’t go well, and offer advice even without knowing a runner’s specific goal. I personally don’t go about reading weekly blog posts by referencing back to what time goal that runner is trying to achieve! Goals can be very personal (they are to me) and I don’t feel anyone should be pressured into sharing those publicly. Cardamom over at Salty Running wrote a post about sharing goals back in July. Interestingly enough, research has found that sharing goals may actually hinder a person’s chances of reaching that goal:

“The researchers postulated that when people make their goals public, they receive praise and accolades just for setting those goals. Because they already received the reward (i.e., praise, attention), there is less incentive to fulfill the goal. Attention given to your public goal brings a premature sense of having already accomplished the goal by having your identity as a member of the group affirmed by other people.”

Race day is just one day. Training is the part I really enjoy. Because of that, I choose to write about my training on my blog and focus on the journey rather than focusing on one race-day goal I am hoping to achieve. Early morning runs that allow me to clear my head, looking at the stars while run, talking to animals (it gets lonely out there), etc. are the things I love about training. Saturday morning runs with friends sometimes followed by brunches is something I look forward to at the end of the week. There are also other things I enjoy doing besides running. These are the things you will read about. If you’re looking to read about what someone’s goal is and if they achieved it or failed, then this isn’t the running blog for you to follow.

So there you have it! While I do have goals for my marathon and there are people with whom I have shared those goals, you will not see them on my blog. What I will share in the future is my thoughts on how I set goals and what types of goals I tend to set for myself.

Happy running!

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4 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About My Running Goals (Or Not)

  1. I think it’s perfectly fine to not share goals. It sounds like similar rationale to why some bloggers choose not to broadcast their workout paces and race times. It’s good for some, not for others, and everyone just has to find out what works best for them!

    Being a part of the running blog community certainly adds an interesting twist to it, though. Before the days of social media, I imagine it was quite common to keep goals to yourself and not feel like it was such a huge deal. Honestly though, I think it’s natural for people to be curious about what other runner bloggers goals are, especially if that run blogger has chosen to put themselves out there about their training and races already. So, I don’t fault people for being curious and I’ve certainly been curious about others’ goals (I know I’m one of the people you allude to since I asked you last time!). It’s up to the individual how much to put out there, but I definitely expect curiosity out of people.

    I find those study findings interesting. Personally, I’ve never felt that stating my goal is to run a marathon makes me part of the marathoners club or that just wanting a goal time meant I already achieved it, but I can understand how that phenomenon might happen. I imagine it applies to some types of goals more than others.

    Hope you’re having a great week!

    1. I have no problem with people being curious and don’t “fault” them for it, I’m just simply sharing why I don’t share my goals on my blog because I have been asked about them a lot & it seems it’s hard for people to understand why I wouldn’t share everything. The people that I allude to that have asked me about my goals have been my offline friends that follow my blog. There are definitely a good number of bloggers I follow that I would say fall in line with that study, but obviously there are always outliers within studies!

  2. Great post!! I agree, running goals are very personal. I don’t have a journal or book where I record my runs – my blog is it. I do post my times and my goals, but I mostly post it for me. I say mostly because we have a great blogging community and if I don’t hit my goal on race day, it’s possible that someone could say, “Well, I followed your training block and I think you need more of this or less of this.” I had a coach, and didn’t benefit from it to justify keeping him around, but I miss the dialogue about training runs and paces! I guess I use my blog as a substitute for it 🙂

    1. I think I remember when you talked about parting ways with your coach. I definitely discuss my training/paces with my training group – they are all able to see everything on my Garmin Connect account and we have a closed Facebook group where we will talk about everything from training to nutrition to race carpool plans. My closest friends are the ones that know my goals, but I don’t personally feel everything needs to be shared on the internet. I did share more detailed training recaps for my half marathons, but that’s because they were 6 weeks shorter than this one!

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