Think about what you want to achieve before you start running. Your training will greatly benefit from advanced planning and clear goals — set yourselves ambitious and inspiring objectives as well as realistic objectives.
Objectives give you something for your training, focus and structure. It will not only help your development as a runner to fulfill your objectives, it will also give you great confidence and motivate you to continue and face additional challenges.
You might think that a straightforward goal, like “to be fit, “is right when you start to run, but that is too vague. You need to indicate what your fitness level will be and how you measure your fitness–you need to structure your target. You may also have the temptation to pursue several targets such as a marathon, complete it in less than four hours, and run faster than your friend. Many goals are good, but complementary and developmental. You might not achieve any of them if you set yourself too many major objectives at once. To set sensitive, focused objectives, use SMART criteria.
Your objectives should vary in scale and time. You will be motivated to set short, medium or long term objectives. A short-term objective should be achieved within a month and directly related to your workout load. Allow up to three months for medium-term objectives in order to focus on greater challenges like enhancing a certain aspect of your running skills. Your long-term goal, as for example in a specific race, is usually your total target of the year. In the meantime, your short-term and medium-term objectives are a sign of your progress.
It’s always best to focus on the factors you can control in training and competition instead of allowing the performance of others to drive your targets. You can not plan what others are doing and it could have a negative impact on your performance if you try to match them.