I had that moment mid training recently where I questioned where the training runs were taking me, I would pass on an early run, its ok to miss this one, then its another, another; consistency slides. My training had felt ‘foggy’ motivation fleeting with every passing week. Whether a seasoned runner with a wardrobe of t shirts and medals from past events or someone new to running we have all felt this low.

Some may be a little lost if unsuccessful in the latest London Marathon Ballot or after finding consistency throughout September or October and with the days shortening and beginning to be wet and cold motivation may start to feel that it is dwindling.

A low, because we feel empty, we need to re-find our why? This is the moment to set goals because at that point we need to seize the moment and we suddenly spark that inner determination. Our eyes widen with excitement, this is the time we can redefine our purpose and seize the moment!

I have asked myself questions and found my why and instinctively feel empowered, I have entered the Vienna Marathon for 2024! BRING IT ON!

I will share my goals as examples in this blog..

What is Goal Setting?

Goal setting involves identifying the process of establishing specific and realistic ways to challenge yourself and improve your running; it is tangible and always there helping to prepare performers both physically and mentally’. It can also get you quickly back on track if you succumb to the ubiquitous Winter illnesses that fly around at this time of year.

Goals can be chosen upon performance or outcome

Performance Goal

A performance goal does not involve the performer comparing themselves to other performers. they simply compare themselves against what they have already done or suggest what they are going to do:

For example a runner may wish to run a sub 1 hour 40 minute half marathon.

Outcome Goal

Outcome goals involve comparisons with other competitors, performance standards may not be that important it is about the end result.

For example a 100 m sprinter may wish to win the race.

Long Term Goals

Start with a long term goal up to no more than 12 months away, this will form the bedrock of your training and consistency, it’s all about the event. My long term goal is:

To complete the Vienna Marathon in a sub 3:30 on 21st April 2024

Remember take time to reflect and think how you want your running to be steered. I thought back to my most enjoyable running momemts it was about travelling somewhere new, the challenge of the marathon distance – It felt a story and adventure!

Medium -Term Goals

Medium term goals are what will give you structure and should be the ones that can be achieved in the upcoming weeks and months. It provides that routine, motivation and focus as well as a sense of immediate achievement. By working towards medium term goals you begin to measure and observe progress you have the buy in. My medium term goals:

To regularly be running 25 miles a week by end of October to build base fitness

To strength train 3 times a week

The two medium goals may seem a lot but it is important to set yourself up for success whilst devising your goals and dont be hard on yourself if things dont go to plan due to work, general life commitments or illness. For example for strength training I will layer this as follows:

Good – To strength train once a week

Great – To strength train twice a week

Smashed! – To strength train three times a week

Short Term Goals

Short-term goal setting in running is equally important as it complements and supports the achievement of medium and long-term goals. Short-term goals typically cover a few days to a few weeks and serve as stepping stones towards the larger objectives. Here are some of the key reasons why short-term goal setting is crucial in running:

Immediate Focus: Short-term goals provide runners with immediate targets to focus on. These goals are achievable in the near future, which helps maintain motivation and commitment during regular training sessions

Boost to Confidence: Achieving short-term goals boosts a runner’s confidence. Regular accomplishments create a positive feedback loop, making runners believe in their abilities and encouraging them to tackle more challenging goals.

Consistency and Accountability: Short-term goals foster consistency in training. When runners have specific daily or weekly targets, they are more likely to stick to their training plans and be accountable for their progress.

Building Habits: Consistently achieving short-term goals helps build positive habits. Over time, these habits become ingrained in a runner’s routine, contributing to long-term success.

My Short term goals are to increase by longer run by 10% for the next three weeks

What are the benefits of Setting running goals?

Motivation: Goals provide runners with a clear purpose and direction for their training. Having a specific target to work towards keeps them motivated, focused, and dedicated to their running routine.

Measurable Progress: Goals offer a way to measure and track progress. Runners can see how far they’ve come and identify areas that need improvement, which helps them fine-tune their training and performance.

Improved Performance: Setting goals allows runners to structure their training effectively, leading to improved performance. A well-organised training plan tailored to the goal at hand helps optimize results.

Confidence and Self-Belief: Accomplishing goals boosts a runner’s confidence and self-belief. Each success serves as a reminder of their capabilities, encouraging them to tackle more significant challenges in the future.

Accountability: Goals create a sense of accountability. Runners are more likely to stick to their training plans and stay committed to their objectives, knowing they have set clear targets to achieve.

Focus and Direction: Goals provide runners with focus and direction. They know precisely what they are working towards, reducing distractions and helping them make informed choices about their training and lifestyle.

Overcoming Plateaus: When progress seems stagnant, goals can help break through plateaus. Setting new challenges pushes runners out of their comfort zones and stimulates further growth.

Long-Term Vision: Setting both short-term and long-term goals helps runners establish a vision for their athletic journey. Each milestone becomes a stepping stone towards greater achievements.

Sense of Fulfilment: Achieving goals brings a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. It provides a sense of purpose beyond the act of running itself, enriching the overall running experience.

Lifestyle and Habit Improvement: Pursuing running goals often involves adopting a healthier lifestyle and establishing positive habits. Training, nutrition, and recovery habits are often optimized to support goal attainment.

Community and Support: Goal setting can foster a sense of community among runners. Sharing goals with peers and participating in events aligned with those goals creates opportunities for support and camaraderie.

Stress Reduction and Well-being: Running and goal pursuit can serve as stress-relievers and contribute to overall well-being. Having a goal to focus on can help manage stress and provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Fun and Enjoyment: While goals are serious pursuits, they also add an element of fun and excitement to running. The journey towards achieving a goal can be filled with memorable experiences and enjoyment.

Types of Running Goals

To help you on your way here are some example running goals for runners:

Sign up and complete a specific event or distance

Improve your leg cycle

Move better

Run faster be more efficient

Run a certain amount of miles each week or month

To be able to run consistently for 60 minutes


Goal setting empowers runners by providing focus, direction, motivation, and a sense of achievement. It supports growth, improvement, and a deeper appreciation for the sport of running, making it an essential aspect of any runner’s journey. It allows runners to progress steadily, celebrate milestones, and remain dedicated to continuous improvement in the sport. creating even more fun and a sense of growth.

I will write a second blog for December focusing on how to fine tune your goals and tips to keep you accountable! For now go get your goals!!

Refined Running based near Wallingford specialises in helping perfect the running technique If you have a goal in mind or need help identifying get in touch via the Contact page and we can start rapidly taking you to what you want to achieve.