Why it’s good to have targets #REDBED Day 13

Targets. The joy of managers world-wide and the bane of many people’s lives. But actually when it comes to running, they can be useful, if thought through.

Setting your targets

Where this is different from the corporate world of targets is that they are self-created. That is you, as a runner, make a conscious decision that you want to do something.

These targets can be absolutely anything e.g.

  • Run a parkrun
  • Complete a half-marathon
  • To run a distance faster than you’ve done before
  • Run a set number of miles a week/month/year
  • To enter a specific event e.g. a race for life event etc

The point is that you are in control of what it is you’re wanting to do.

I started thinking about this as part of my own challenge this month with #REDBED. It’s a bit different to the above suggestions but the thinking remains the same.

As I mentioned in #REDBED Day 1, I lost a lot of training time during the 2017 due to injury. I have wanted to start to build up my mileage again now I’m fixed, and by running regular shorter distances, I can do that. The blogging aspect was simply something I had got out of the habit of doing. By setting a challenge to myself to write something new each day in December, I hope to get back into writing articles again.

There is another little target in my head for 2017; as with many others, I decided I wanted to run 1000 miles during 2017. I was way ahead of target up until the injury in April, however fell behind as I wasn’t able to run. By running regularly over the last couple of months, hopefully I’ll reach my 1000 miles as part of the Run Up 2 Christmas #RU2C campaign.

A word of warning about targets

There are a couple of things I need to point out with self-imposed targets.

Firstly, reaching your target is a best-case scenario. The world won’t spin off its axis if you don’t manage to achieve them. So it is important to keep things in perspective. Ultimately, we run because it makes us feel better. You don’t want to undo this positivity by beating yourself up about a target that cannot be achieved this time around. Sometimes life gets in the way. It may be your ambition will take a bit longer to come together; listening to your body is always more important than pushing on regardless.

Secondly, any target you set needs to be because you want to achieve it. Not because everyone else is doing that thing. For example, I’ve decided to give up road marathons (for at least the time being). Meanwhile on Twitter, plenty of people are talking about the marathons they are doing; it’s easy to get swept up into doing something because that’s what you believe everyone else is doing. Remember, you’re running for you, not for anyone else.

I guess that leads on to another point which is the ‘running to raise money for charity’. I know of people who have got themselves into a pickle because they’re ill or injured and unable to run, but they feel bad because they were raising money for a charity. If for whatever reason you’re unable to run the event, that money still gets donated to the charity, which was the important point of the exercise. There’s always another race on another day.

Where targets can be empowering

Thus far I’ve shouted ‘CAUTION’ and ‘BEWARE’ all over the page. But that wasn’t the reason I wanted to write this post at all.

Having a reason for doing something is important. It gives you the impetus to carry on with training and makes the whole point of it valid to you.

The vast majority of runners (not all) go out to races or events in order to run. Their motives may be very different. Some people want to prove to themselves that they could do it. Others want to prove (to themselves) that they can do it better than they’ve done before. Note how I use the word ‘better’. That can itself be very personal to the runner, be it a faster time, or a more consistent strategy. Or even to do it with friends and enjoy it more.

In order to be able to feel prepared for the said event, it will require training runs. And it’s knowing that you want to be able to do that event which can help to drive you out of the front door in your running kit in the weeks/months preceding the event.

For me, the Run Every Day aspect has been particularly powerful. On the days when it’s cold, dark, wet and generally horrible, it takes a bit more oompf to get out of the door. However when you’ve already run e.g. 43 days in succession, to break that streak for no real reason seems a huge shame. Suddenly getting out and running a mile (or more) doesn’t seem as arduous as it might have done otherwise.

To wrap up and introduce today’s run

I’ll cover a lot more of my thoughts about the whole #REDBED experience later in the month as there are a number of things that have come out thus far which are worth a mention.

With regard to targets, the important things to consider are

  • Is it realistic / achieveable
  • Do I really want to do this, or is it just to be one of the crowd
  • It’s not the B-all and end-all if I don’t get there this time around. Let’s look at what happened, learn from it, and build on it for next time

Today’s run really was one of those ‘need-to’ runs. It was a quick whip around the local park, in ice-cold rain and a biting wind. It’s not a run that I’ll treasure. Which is a shame; ultimately it was one of those runs done to maintain the run streak as my heart wasn’t really in it. Which means I’ll look at tomorrow’s run more carefully to make sure it is one I’m happy with.

A cold and wet run around the local park

A cold and wet run around the local park

#REDBED

For December 2017 I’m attempting to Run Every Day & Blog Every Day (REDBED) as part of the ‘Run Up 2 Christmas’ campaign to raise money for the charity MIND. I’ve explained how my challenge works on the first post of the challenge which you can find here.

And Finally

We tried out Urban Orienteering yesterday and I did mention the results wouldn’t be out until today. Astoundingly we didn’t come last! Although we were beaten by a 7 year old with her Dad……!

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