Assess Running Progress: Tip 5 on how to hit your goals & prevent injury

Understanding how to assess running progress is critical whether you’re a high level competitive runner, an amateur runner, or new to running.

(If you haven’t yet, click here to read and/or watch Tip #1Tip #2tip #3, & tip #4)

Regardless of level, we all have certain running goals and milestones we’d like to hit.My question is always this:  How do you set yourself up for success?

With all my running clients, I go through a detailed 5-part process that harnesses the science of behavior change, performance improvement, and injury prevention to help reach and surpass those goals.

After you have set an overlying specific and measurable running goal (tip #1), broken that goal down into actionable and digestible smaller steps (tip #2), integrated four key training principles (tip #3), and addressed four holistic factors (tip #4) – the 5th and final step is how to assess running progress.

5 - Assess Running Progress

This starts with using the the smaller goals & steps that we created in tip 2.  These help define objective benchmarks and metric that we can use to assess running progress. 

They give us a clear marker & idea of where we are and where we are headed.

When looking at those smaller goals and benchmarks, it’s critical to understand that progress is not a straight line – you're going to hit some of them and not him some of them, that's NORMAL.

The key is being able to take a step back and see the trend line – are you tracking positively or negatively? In other words, are the ups greater than the downs?

Something that looks like this:

 When you assess running progress, it’s crucial to look at the trend line.  Day to day ups and downs are inherent so you want to look at the overall trend line to see if you’re making overall progress.

When you assess running progress, it’s crucial to look at the trend line.  Day to day ups and downs are inherent so you want to look at the overall trend line to see if you’re making overall progress.

I cannot stress this point enough because all too often I’ll see a client who loses significant motivation or positive reinforcement due to a bad day or bad week of running…even though overall, he or she has come light years and is tracking toward hitting their running goals.

It’s so easy to get caught up and lost in the day to day - we really have to fight against that. That’s why having these objective markers/data – I call them “anchor points” - and understanding this idea of trend line change is so critical when you assess running progress. 

It allows you to shake off some bad days or a bad week, and keep your motivation high to stick with your plan & hit your running goals.


So that’s the 5th and final step.

I hope you find this 5-part process to be helpful in improving your running performance to hit your running goals while preventing injury. You now have all the tools to do it effectively & safely! 

As always, thanks for reading - until next time.


If you're looking to improve your running and prevent injury or you're just fed up with aches, pains, injury, or stress - we'd love to help. Click the button below to discuss your questions & issues with Dr. Rajpal Brar, Doctor of Physical Therapy.  Together, we'll come up with a game plan to reach & surpass your goals.