Last year, I ran a local 4-mile race put on by the New York Road Runners. Still sore from the impromptu half marathon I ran the weekend before, I was not looking forward to getting up early to run a race I was going to jog and not race. When I originally registered for the race, I had hoped to run it as hard as possible. But since I wasn’t recovered from the half marathon the week before, running as fast as I could was a bad idea.
After jogging over to the start line and securing my place in a corral, I thought about the advice I give my run coaching clients when they use races as training runs to help them reach their ‘A’ goal.
During the half marathon the week before, I overran the course by .3. Missing the tangents by .3 could mean missing my goal next month during the Brooklyn Half Marathon. When I had this realization, I knew my goal for the race last week was to run the tangents as closely as possible.
Once my race had a purpose, my outlook immediately changed. I could still run this race and benefit from it even if I was taking it easy.
Here are 10 goals you can set for your next race that have nothing to do with setting a PR:
- Run the tangents as closely as possible.
- Drink water from a cup at water stops without having to come to a complete stop and have it actually go in your mouth (instead of all over your shirt).
- Run your own race and not get caught up in the pace of other runners.
- Run a negative split by running the second half of the race faster than you ran the first half of the race.
- Leave your music and earphones at home to prove you can run without music.
- Successfully pace a friend during their first race.
- Finish feeling strong instead of depleted.
- Not look at your watch and run by feel.
- Reframe your thoughts and squash any negative ones that come up.
- Have fun and high-five as many spectators as possible.
Setting a goal for a race that isn’t time related can be beneficial and help you to reach a bigger goal or to just enjoy the race!