How To Avoid Running Goal Creep

When I crossed the finish line of my last marathon I felt a number of different emotions. Achievement, joy, relief. One thing I didn’t feel at the time was disappointment. But after I’d taken the medal from around my neck, and finished the complementary beer (alcohol free, obviously!) I started feeling that maybe I should’ve done better.

I’d set myself A, B and C goals, and yes, the A goal had been very optimistic. I didn’t hit the B goal either, but wasn’t too far from it, and I’d smashed my C goal.

So why the disappointment? I put this down to the fact that my goals are always in a constant state of flux – goal creep if you will.

I decided that now the previous training block was behind me and I had a good idea of the progress I’d made, I’d look at setting some new goals. As part of this process I went through my last training plan and found a note from January detailing some running goals for the coming year. I was surprised to find that based on these original goals I’d actually beaten my marathon A goal by over 2 minutes. It seems that as good intentioned as having these goals is, I just can’t help but move my ‘A’ goal as training progresses and so I end up being too ambitious on the day.

So do I still feel disappointed? Actually, no. Being reminded of the goals I set myself at the start of the year and finding myself so close to some and exceeding others is actually quite motivating. And hitting my original marathon goal so early on is fantastic.

Current Running Goals

When measuring progress by constantly creeping goals it’s easy to miss the big improvements and only see myself coming up short.

Documenting my current goals will hopefully allow me to look back and measure my progress (and hopefully not lack of) against where I want to be now, rather than trying to achieve something that is constantly changing.

Distance Goal Time
5K 18:30
5M 32:00
10K 39:00
10M 01:05:00
Half Marathon 01:28:00
Marathon 03:05:00

Even while writing these some of them seem too ambitious, but that’s kinda the point. The difference is that these goals are for the next 12 months, and hopefully this time they shouldn’t ‘creep’ like so often before. I’ll look back this time next year to see which I’ve managed to achieve. And for those that have still escaped me? I’ll make plans to hunt them down.

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