SET GOALS

Runner's World (UK) - - Old Ways, New Ways -

THE OLD WAY You trained to beat your peers – and you knew most of them.

THE NEW WAY You might train to beat your peers (in real life or on Strava), to set a PB or sim­ply to cross a fin­ish line feel­ing strong enough to take an In­sta­gram-wor­thy selfie (though what’s con­sid­ered ‘wor­thy’ in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of a hard race is a some­what flex­i­ble con­cept).

THE BEST WAY Ide­ally, the most im­por­tant goals you set should not de­pend on vari­ables you can’t con­trol, says Dr Cin­dra Kam­phoff, direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Sport and Per­for­mance Psy­chol­ogy in Min­nesota, US. There are three types of goals: per­for­mance goals are re­lated to time (eg ‘I’d like to fin­ish this 5K in un­der 30 min­utes’ or ‘I’d like to fin­ish this marathon be­fore the or­gan­is­ers close the course, pack up and go home’). Process goals are re­lated to how you go about achiev­ing your per­for­mance goals – run­ning the sec­ond half of the race faster than the first, for ex­am­ple. And out­come goals, such as win­ning your age group or plac­ing in the top 50, de­pend on how both you and oth­ers per­form.

Kam­phoff points out that while top per­form­ers set all three types of goals, ev­ery­day run­ners don’t need to. Process goals are most im­por­tant be­cause you can achieve them re­gard­less of race-day con­di­tions. Then, if you’d like to set per­for­mance goals, en­sure you have a range – in­clud­ing the goal to sim­ply fin­ish – so that vari­ables such as heat or wind don’t ruin your race.

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