Setting Race Goals

As I sat at work today pumping for the first time, I had a few rare moments to think. It was quiet (if you ignore the sound of the pump and the milk dripping into the bottle). No one was going to interrupt me. I finally had time to think about running on Sunday.

And I want to be excited. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m finding it. I’ve worked hard all summer. I suffered through a hot-as-hell half marathon five weeks ago. I ran that race smart so I would feel stronger at this race. Yes, my brain is thinking about 26.2 miles already, but this weekend is all about 13.1. Just as I let my brain wander to the “best case scenario” outcome for Sunday, I checked my google reader and I found this post on Another Mother Runner.

We thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about how to set race goals for yourself. It can be tough because you don’t want to set them so high, you end up feeling like a failure at the finish line, but you also don’t want to short-change your training and effort.

We’re fans of multi-tiered approach–some time goals, some race-related goals, and maybe even some more personal goals–you are pretty much guaranteed to hit at least one of them, no matter what the clock reads  or how you feel when you cross the finish line. Which means you have the respectful answer, “I met my goal,” to use on anybody who asks about your race but you don’t feel like digging into the nitty gritty.

This was a great opportunity to talk about setting race goals. I have been short-changing my training and my effort.

I’ve avoided setting goals for this run………well, if I’m being honest, because my last half left me confused. I know the weather was a huge factor that day, but I would have never thought I’d run the pace I ran. So I’ve been cautiously moving towards this race. If I avoid setting a goal for this run, I won’t be disappointed? Easy enough, right? I have a feeling this will leaving me at the finish line feeling disappointed regardless.

Taking the advice from the blog post I read, these are my goals for the run.

Time Goal:

Best Case Scenario: Sub 2:15 with my final miles in the 9s.

Normal Day Scenario: Sub 2:20. If I’m being honest with myself, I’ll be disappointed if I see anything over 2:20. I want a PR. And I’ve run PRs in training runs, so I know I can do it during the race.

Race Goal:

I run my version of strong that day. When I’m feeling strong, I give it everything I’ve got. When I’m feeling off, I hang on. I want to feel like I’m running strong. This happens for me when I’m running in the low 10s/9s. Anything slower than a 10:30 starts to feel like a shuffle. I don’t want to shuffle.

Personal Goal:

I want to ignore my garmin. I want to run by feel and not let numbers determine my mental strength on Sunday. I want to cross the finish line feeling like I left my race on the course. I want to hurt and push through it. Yes, I want to hit my time goals above, but they don’t mean much to me if I don’t meet this goal.

And I can’t believe I haven’t even focused on a Race Day Mantra. I have seriously been distracted this week. I always run with a mantra. I’m stealing this one from my good friend Amanda at Running on Waffles. When the miles get tough, because they will get tough as a set my new PR, I’m running for every single mile I’ve missed over the past few years. I’m running for every single mile I may miss in the future. I’m running for race day.

And now I’m officially excited! And ready to run down a PR. Running for every missed mile.

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5 thoughts on “Setting Race Goals

  1. Go girl!! You can get that 2:15 PR!! I haven’t really decided what my goal will be for the 1/2 in Richmond but it’ll be similar. Prove to me that you can do it and then maybe I can, too!

  2. Love this!!! Just read it (even though I already know how the race turned out) but I’m really glad that you found the excitement before the race! I think you were smart in setting your goals for this race, too! I especially like the “ignore my Garmin” one. 🙂

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