6 Running goals that aren’t races

Last year my running motivation really suffered. I’m planning not for that to happen again this year. It’s still too early to say whether any of us will be running fall races this year but we’re all hoping right? Even if we are racing this year training season is a long way off still. It’s normal that having a race as a goal is totally motivating and that we’re a little lost with out them. As much as I hope to be doing a big race this year other stuff like moving might get in the way! So how do you get motivation and set running goals when you’re not actively training for a race? Don’t worry, I’ve got some ideas for you!

Pick up a good running habit

As runners we know we should be doing certain things. Last year might have brought this to the forefront as we didn’t have training plans making us do the right thing. There really are so many options here but most of us have something we know we should be doing but aren’t. That might be morning running, following the 10% rule, a weekend long run or properly warming up and cooling down. If there’s a running thing you think you should have done already this could be your opportunity to work on it. This year I’ll be doing some of this I have been a regular morning runner when training but I let the habit get away from me last year. I’ve come to realize that if I wait to run until later in the day too many things can come into play and derail my plans. So I’ll be doing my best to pick up a good running habit as the days get longer.

Become a ‘regular’ runner

There are lots of runners out there that want nothing more than to just run more. You might be surprised to find out that runners who do endurance events like halfs and full marathons and turn in great times aren’t really regular runners outside of training season. Still other runners go through high motivation periods and low motivation periods. Running a few time a week for a few months of the year and then are sporadic at best. This was the sort of runner that I was for the first 15 years of my running journey. Lots of runners love running and want to run more regularly for the physical and mental health benefits but… something always seems to get in the way. If you don’t have a race to train for this year you might make developing a lasting consistent running habit your goal for the year. Some helpful hints in achieving that goal could include scheduling your runs, planning on running a certain number or days of the week or offering to go with a friend.

Embrace new routes

We all fall into the habits of running the same routes around our homes. Even if you have literally the prettiest places to run right outside your doorstep it’s pretty fun to mix it up. You could certainly do your weekend runs somewhere else but you could also stop somewhere on your way to or from work or errands where you’ve always wanted to run. A great place to start is local routes on running apps and running pages. Even though I don’t totally love running in new places, I love the view but running in new places make me a little anxious. Overall it’s worth it though. I’ll probably be driving to run a bit more in the future. One cool thing to do if you’re running in a new spot is take a super running selfie and post it to your social channels. Looking up, planning and then running a new route every week is a great way to stay checked into running.

Try being a different kind of runner

Runners get stuck in a rut and there’s nothing wrong with that exactly. Maybe you are a road running 5k runner. I’m largely a road mid distance and endurance runner. But the options are really endless. You could focus on shorter distances, longer distances, trail running or cross country. There are just so many options. You could model becoming an ultra runner by making it your goal to run to the next town over just once this year. Lots of us are fascinated by another type of running well this is the time to check it out. You already know you’re going to love the running part and any new activity is exciting at first. If you don’t have a race to train for you can build structure into your runs by maybe driving to a new trail or track a few times a week. Personally trail running seems pretty cool and though I’ve only done one trail race I might like to try my hand at running some trails this year. But… I know I have a lot to learn!

Inspire a new runner

There are so many people out there that would love to try their hand at running. They might say things like “I wish I could do that” and they might even be in your bubble. Since getting outdoors and getting moving with a friend outdoors is the new nightclub you might as well sign up to be their run coach. Then you can schedule their runs, make all kinds of gear selections for them and then you can do a couch to 5k with them. After that you can start extolling the virtues of your favorite distance to them, sign them up for a virtual race and then do that with them too!

If all else fails think about this year as a building year for next year. Running goals don’t always have to be covering a certain distance in a set amount of time. In fact I would argue that if those are the only sorts of running goals you have you might be missing out. What are your favorite running goals that are totally independent of races? Leave it in the comments below!

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