New Running Goals: Set Goals During COVID-19

Coach Casey · May 4, 2020

With most of us losing our Spring racing season it’s time as runners to reset a bit. We have to reset our training cycles, reset our brains, reset our legs, and reset our patience. We also have to set brand new running goals. Without a goal half-marathon, marathon, or even 5k in the near future, it’s important to set new running goals that keep you motivated, provide some purpose to your training and allow you to look ahead, past all the current craziness. Setting running goals can be hard in even to most normal, stable circumstances. In our current socially distanced, coronavirus circumstance, it’s even harder. Charge Running is here to help! Not only do we have tips to help you set new, attainable, proactive, and engaging goals, but we’re going to help you reach them too!

Use the tips below to set your new running goals and then head on out the door, hop on your treadmill, keep your social distance, and get to work!

6 Tips on How to Set New Running Goals!

Take a break

Don’t dive in head first right away. Consider the fact that in a normal training cycle, culminating in a goal race, you would have a designated rest/recovery period after the completion of that race anyways. Wipe your schedule clean and start with a rest period. It doesn’t have to be massive, but even just a week off can give your brain, body, and spirit the break it needs to feel positive and refreshed before getting back to it.

Eliminate season-specific goals

There’s a lot of uncertainty currently with when road races will begin again. Eliminate any season specificity associated with your goals. If previously you had training/race goals for the Spring, versus the Summer, versus the Fall, delete all of that from your brain. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to come back to those goals in the future, but any goals tied to a peak seasonal race need to be shelved for the moment.

Pick one, measurable focus

You want to take some time to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as they relate to your training/racing. Take stock of what you need to work on and what you’re pretty well set with. Once you’ve found those strengths/weaknesses, choose a specific weakness to focus on improving. This isn’t race specific. It’s not season specific, and it doesn’t have a hard deadline. If your hill running could use work, set a goal of 1 hill workout per week for 8 weeks. Need a bit of added hip flexibility? Set a goal of doing hurdle wall drills 4x per week for a month. If you want to increase aerobic capacity, set a goal of building to being able to run 10 miles without breaks. As long as it’s measurable and beneficial it’s a good focus!

Focus on the training process ore than the end results as you set new goals

Make your goal process-oriented, not end goal-oriented

As mentioned previously, we’re in uncharted territory here. There’s no telling when racing and training access will return to normal. With that said, it’s important when setting your new running goals to focus on the process and not on the end result. Instead of saying “I want to run a 3hr marathon in November,” set a goal to build your weekly mileage by 10% every 2-3 weeks. Will that process-oriented goal help you eventually run a 3hr marathon, yes! Will it also allow for you to be flexible and adaptable if you’re unable to race in November, yes!  

Add a cognitive element to your new running goals

The opportunity to improve your focus, mindfulness, visualization and general cognitive health is not hindered by canceled races. Working on improving your mental health, strength and resilience can be done in any environment. Add cognitive goals to your list of things to focus on. They’re achievable and play a huge role in your training and performances. Begin using a mantra, or add meditation to your daily training schedule. Setting and achieving realistic, positive cognitive goals will only serve to benefit you when you are able to get back to training and racing in full.

Don’t fear hard work and possible “failure” 

This is to say that you shouldn’t avoid opportunities to test your body, mind, and training in more traditional senses. Don’t shy away from joining the occasional virtual race, or setting up personal time trials. The goal should not be to avoid these hard tests completely but instead to level your expectations with them. Try a virtual 5k around the same time that your goal 5k race was scheduled to be. However, if you fall short of your goal time, don’t stress, don’t worry, and absolutely don’t quit! Just getting across the virtual/imaginary finish line is an accomplishment. Don’t forget that your goals are bigger than one race or one finishing time!

Beyond all else, have fun with your training!!! Enjoy the journey every single step of the way, whether there’s a big race in sight or not.

With your new goals set and managed, it’s time to get training! Join Charge Running and let certified, professional coaches lead you live to your goals!

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