How to hit your running goals while preventing injury, tip 1: Setting the overlying goal

Whether you’re a high level competitive runner or an amateur runner who loves it and uses the sport as an outlet or you’re just getting into running – each of us has certain 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 process that harnesses the science of behavior change, performance improvement, and injury prevention to help reach and surpass those goals.

Before you can set out on hitting your goals, it’s important to focus on the creation of the goals themselves.

(If you'd prefer to watch the vlog - click here.  If not, carry on!)

Therefore, the first step is:

1 - Setting a specific & measurable running goal

The more ambiguous your goal is, the harder it is to create a detailed plan for, measure progress, and ultimately achieve. We want to fight against that haziness by increasing the clarity of your goals.

If you have a general goal in mind, narrow it down to a specific goal and then make it objectively measurable.

I’ll use myself as an example:

  • My general goal is “run more this year” and my favorite distance is a 10k.
  • Then the goal becomes “run a 10k faster this year”. At this point, I can use my last 10k time from last year to set an objective and measurable goal.
  • I ran a 53:30 10k near the end of last year and I want to shave off 2 minutes.
  • So now the goal is “run a 10k under 51:30”.  Definitely more specific and measurable.

The last part is to choose a date/race in order to set the timetable: 

  • I had a rotation in Atlanta and have been meaning to go back, why not use this race as an excuse?
  • The Chattahoochee road race in Atlanta takes place in early March.
  • So now the goal is “run a 10k under 53:30 at the Chattahoochee road race”.  Very specific and measurable.

That’s step 1.  In the next post I’ll go through step 2 which is breaking down this goal into actionable and digestible steps.


Fed up with aches, pains, injury, or stress? We'd love to help. Click the button below to discuss your questions & issues with our Doctor of Physical Therapy.  Together, we'll come up with a game plan to reach & surpass your goals.