Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Smart runners make SMART goals: Goal setting with Coach Rachel

My Sweat Pink sisters and I are doing a blog swap.  Here is a special guest post that I think you will find very helpful.  To check out all of the blogs in the swap, check out this link.

A dream is a wish...


When I work with runners, particularly runners new to the sport, our work often centers around a specific goal. These goals are often related to specific events (I want to run my first half marathon), times (I want to run a 25 minute 5k), or consistency (I want to run consistently for 8 weeks). Most runners have big goals. I love big goals. They're motivating, and help keep all of us on track. But, the smart runner also has little goals, and sets and achieves little goals throughout the training cycle. It's these little goals that really help keep us on track, and contribute to that sense of accomplishment that drives running joy.

The smart runner has two types of goals: Goals and goals. Big G goals are meta-goals, the season-long goals that organize a runner's year. Something like running a key race is a Goal. goals, on the other hand, are micro-goals, little g goals, that define a particular training period, week, or run. Little g goals relate to the Goal, but are specific and concise.

The best little g goals follow the SMART acronym. They're

S - specific
M - measurable
A - attainable
R - realistic
T - time-bound

So, your G/goals might look something like this:
Goal: I'm going to Run Disney at the Princess Half Marathon
goal: This week, I'm going to run between 20 and 30 miles.
goal: In today's run, at 7am, I'm going to run 4 miles at an easy pace, and feel great.

Setting micro-goals will not only help you organize your training, it will help you feel connected to a big Goal that might be far off. I track my goals in a training log, and encourage my runners to do the same. I think about my goal before every run. Sometimes I have a specific distance, pace, or route in mind. Sometimes tying my shoes is a good goal. But every time I accomplish something I set out to do, I feel amazing.

Set a goal today, Smart runners, and feel inspired!

And a little about me:

Dr. Rachel is a running coach, blogger, and college professor in Connecticut. She blogs at www.DrRachelRuns.com. Rachel is a trail runner, road runner, and lover of animals who regularly runs with her dog, Lucy. More information about her running coaching services, including distance coaching and plan development, can be found at DrRachelRuns.com/coaching.


  1. If you are smart, you will try to remember all the benefits you will reap if you set goals, because, as I said, the more positive reasons you have for doing something, the more likely you are to do it!