5 Keys to Successful Goal Setting

By Coach Jake Puzey, McMillanRunning.com
It’s time to map out your annual running calendar. When we work with athletes, we use these 5 steps to set them up for success.

Step #1: Reflect
As you begin another year, you will naturally move to reflection.  In setting goals for the year ahead all runners ask themselves whether they were successful in accomplishing what they had set out to do.  The following questions may help you reflect on the previous year as you move toward an even better year to come:
– Were the goals I set realistic and did they hurt or hinder my goal of a healthy lifestyle?
– Did I achieve my goals? Why or why not?
– What did I do this year other than run?
– Did my running bring balance or imbalance to my life

Step #2: Select
Once you have reflected upon the previous year, determine which races or challenges you want to take on.
– Do I have a specific weakness I want to make a strength?
– Is there a particular challenge (TransRockies Run!), race or race distance that I want to improve my performance in?
– Do I have the time to train for and prepare adequately for the challenge?
– How will I balance my training and the rest of my life (work, family, friends, rest, diet, etc.)?
– Are there qualifying standards or races I need to run to be eligible?  If so, have I qualified or will I be able to include them in my schedule?
– Do I need to be selected in a lottery? Have I already been selected or have I qualified and registered for the lottery? What is my backup plan if I don’t get in?

Coach Jake at the TRR 2015

Step #3: Prioritize

Once you have selected the challenge(s) that most interest you it is important to prioritize them.  Decide which challenge is most important and what you need to do to meet that goal.  If something on your list conflicts with your main goal, move it to next year’s list.  One thing we stress is that you can’t do everything. Trying is a recipe for frustration so spend some time thinking about what goals are truly your “A” goals and which are secondary.

Step #4: Plan

 – Once you have identified your priorities begin to plan backward with the end in mind.  Ask yourself:

 – What will I need to do to feel mentally and physically prepared for the challenge?
– How long will that preparation take?
– What other activities will compliment this preparation?
– Am I committed to make it happen?
– Do I know others who have done what I want to do? What can I learn from them?
– How will I attack the challenges I’ll face in achieving my goals? (This is a big one! It’s often easy to make the goal but harder to determine how you will overcome the inevitable challenges you will face.)

Step #5: Adapt and Adjust
As with most things in life, even our best plans must be adjusted.  We get sick. We have to travel. We have last minute meetings or family emergencies.  This is normal and our lives and plans must be flexible enough to account for such unforeseen occurrences.  We always say that the best training plans are the ones that fit within your life and have enough “wiggle room” to tolerate all that life throws at you and still keep you on track for your goals.
Also, remember that we run to live, not live to run.  Let’s not get so invested in a race or a goal that if and when it doesn’t go as expected, we spend the rest of the year disappointed.  I hope that each of us will be able to make running and its many benefits a part of our lives for years to come.

About Jake & McMillan Running
Coach Jake Puzey is a champion trail & ultra runner and TransRockies Run veteran.  (He and his brother were 2nd in the Open Men’s division at last year’s race.) He’s an expert at helping runners tackle trail and ultra races like the TransRockies Run.
McMillan Running helps runners get to the starting line healthy and to the finish line faster. The expert coaching staff works with new runners, experienced runners and even Olympians.

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