55% of runners on the exercise-tracking app Strava hit a new personal record (PR) in their 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon distances in 2020, according to Strava’s 2020 Year in Sport report. For those who are looking to meet ambitious running goals in 2023, getting started — and maintaining — good running habits throughout the year can seem like a major challenge. From how you can successfully set goals to how you can go about tracking them — and how you can stay motivated along the way, here are just three tips worth keeping in mind.
1. Effectively identifying and setting goals
Whether your goal is to run a marathon by the end of the year or simply get into a regular running routine, setting goals can make a major difference. According to Verywell Fit, setting goals can help you break down your goal into more manageable steps. “By following incrementally increasing goals, you likely won’t feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew — which, in turn, keeps you from feeling overwhelmed and giving up,” explains the post. When looking to set specific goals, Verywell Fit suggests first asking yourself a series of questions — from how often you’d like to run each week to the pace you’d like to keep, which will aid greatly in identifying your goals. From there, physically writing down your goals can be a great way to serve as a reminder later on as to what you’re setting out to achieve.
2. Tracking your progress
If you don’t happen to have a method in place to help you track your progress towards your running goals, it can be extremely easy to lose sight of what you’re working towards and perhaps even forget about your goals altogether. Using a notebook is just one simple way to keep track of your progress, whether you choose to simply track the dates/times that you ran or you opt to keep a more detailed account of each run and what was accomplished. Habit-tracking apps can also make for a convenient, easy-to-use option while providing a simple, comprehensive visual of your progress.
Wearable fitness trackers can also be a fantastic way to keep track of your running goals, especially if you’re looking to track things like your route, the amount of time you spend running, or even to provide insights if your goal is to lose weight via running. An Australian team of researchers from the University of South Australia reviewed data from 400 studies across the world, involving almost 164,000 participants from trials that were conducted wearing activity trackers. In regard to the results and the value of wearable activity trackers, PhD candidate Ty Ferguson notes “They encourage people to exercise on a regular basis, to make it part of their routine and to set goals to lose weight.”
3. Staying motivated (throughout the year)
For those who set running goals at the beginning of the year, staying motivated weeks and even months later can become quite the challenge. In fact, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is said to be an estimated 80%, with most people losing their “resolve and motivation” in mid-February, according to the U.S. News and World Report. That said, there are actually a variety of creative ways that runners can maintain their motivation throughout the year. Adding variety to your running routine is just one way to keep things interesting all year round — whether that be by changing your route, running with friends/family, or creating new challenges for yourself.
Creating, setting, and maintaining running goals throughout the year can be a major endeavour, though following through and reaching your goal can make the process well worthwhile.