Training without a goal is like driving without a destination. Sure, it can be fun but it’s ultimately futile. Goals can take all sorts of different forms.
At one time, about 10 years ago, my goal was to be able to run for 30 minutes. That wasn’t an arbitrary aim. It was based on some reading about the game of squash – a sport I was pretty good at. Basically, it said that the minimum aerobic requirement for a good player was the ability to run for 30 minutes non-stop. I’d done some running in my training but never anything structured. I used to run to the squash club sometimes or do court sprints. But it was haphazard. So, I set the goal, achieved it, and my game improved significantly.
These days, I don’t play squash as the combination of explosive movements and older muscles means that injuries are more frequent and my recovery time is longer.
These days, I get most of my aerobic training from running three or four times per week. For the last 18 months, my focus has been on building from almost no exercise to being able to run for over an hour without stopping on some decent hills near home.
But my training now lacks focus as I don’t have a goal. So, I’ve decided to set a new set of targets over the next two years. Here’s my plan – laid open in public so that anyone who remembers can hold me accountable.
The Age Run Melbourne in July 2014- 10km event in under 55 minutes
Melbourne Marathon in October 2014 – 21.1km in under 1:50
Two Bays Trail over Arthurs Seat in January 2014 – 28km in less than three hours
A marathon in either March or May 2015 – 42.2km. Hoping that I can do this overseas
Melbourne Marathon October 2014 – 42.2km
Oxfam Trailwalker in 2015 – 100km in under 18 hours
The plan is built around slowly increasing distances and intensity and then having some consolidation time between events. I might do the occasional shorter “race” between these but these are my main focus.
How do you set goals? Do you plan long term of just a few months at a time?