You’re new to running and want to set yourself some goals. In this quick post, you’ll find 7 achievable goals to get you started on your running journey.
Welcome to running!
Taking on a new sport can seem daunting at first but I can assure you, you have made the right decision. Running is one of the best things you can do for yourself. As running is an excellent form of exercise, regularly pounding the pavement can lead to numerous benefits including:
- Having more energy
- Feeling positive
- Being a healthy weight
- Improved physical fitness
- Meeting more people
- Better sleep
- Exploring new places
The list of benefits is virtually endless. Check out the following blog post for more of the benefits:
What are goals and why are they important for runners?
Simply put, a goal is something that you would like to achieve in the future.
The main idea of a goal is that, as your current self, you’re not skilled, abled, or knowledgeable enough to achieve the goal. But, after putting in some effort and work towards improving your abilities the goal should be achievable.
Can you think of examples of goals you might have already set and achieved in your own life?
- Passing an exam – When you first take on a course, you don’t have enough knowledge in it to be able to sit and pass an exam to prove your ability. It’s only after hours of learning and studying that you’re able to pass the exam and smash your goal.
- Succeeding at a job interview – After being invited to a job interview, you realize your best chance at being selected for the job is to be prepared. It’s only after you research the company, remind yourself of your personal skills and create a presentation that you’re able to give an excellent interview performance and get the job.
- Buying a house – Before you buy a house, it’s necessary to do a few hard things first. Sufficient savings should be accumulated, the target house market must be thoroughly searched, viewings done, an offer made and the move flawlessly organized. After all this work, the goal of having a house can be accomplished and enjoyed.
“If you’re bored with life – you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.” –Lou Holtz
Goals are extremely important for us as human beings because they give us a sense of purpose. Setting a goal that is meaningful and then working towards it until it is eventually achieved, is incredibly powerfully. As runners, we can benefit massively from setting goals.
Runners should regularly set and achieve goals for pushing themselves further, developing their abilities and achieving a sense of overall satisfaction. So the goals stick in the mind, it’s always a good idea to physically write them down into a notebook.
Particularly in the early stages of running, goals to aim towards are important for motivation and ensuring good running habits are set.
Without further ado, here are 7 goals that beginner runners can set and aspire to achieve:
1. Start running 3 times a week
Consistency is perhaps the most important ingredient in the recipe for running success. If you run once every two weeks, your body won’t get used to running and you won’t make quick progress beginner runners enjoy.
Avoid slow progress by aspiring to run regularly. One way to do this is to set the goal of running three times a week.
Three times a week is a nice rate for beginner runners. It isn’t too many times a week that the body is unable to recover which risks injury, yet it’s frequent enough to ensure that the benefits of running can started accruing e.g. losing weight, toned leg muscles, increased fitness etc.
2. Run a sub 25-minute 5K
The 5K is a popular staple amongst runners across the world of all abilities. It’s short enough for beginner runners to engage with and makes for a nice distance to be setting time targets to aspire to beat.
A decent time for a 5K is clocking in before the 25-minute mark. This equates to a rate of roughly 8 minutes per mile and should be manageable after a few weeks of solid and consistent training.
Once you’ve beat the 25-minute target, reset at 24 minutes, then 23, and so on. It’s always good to keep trying to beat your PB as it means you’ll be focused on improving your running.
Check out the following post for more information:
3. Complete a half-marathon
Half-marathons (13.1 miles) provide a decent distance for beginner runners interested in endurance running to be aspiring to completing.
Half marathon training isn’t as hard or time consuming as marathon training, and you’re less likely to get injured running half the distance of a marathon.
Having personally completed over 25 half-marathons and 3 marathons, I can confidently say that running a marathon is (for me, anyway) three times harder than running a half-marathon.
It’s important to highlight that the goal here should be to complete a half-marathon without worrying about time. Beginner runners should focus on trying different distances and observing how your body reacts. Once you’ve crossed the line of your first half-marathon, then you can focus on improving your time.
If you set running a half-marathon as one of your running goals and are able to accomplish it, you will be well on your way to becoming a great runner.
4. Set a target for money to raise for charity through an event
Charitable organizations exist to highlight issues and help those in need. They are not for profit by nature and many rely on kind donations from the public to function.
You can set a target to run an event in the name of raising a certain amount for charity. For example, you could run your first half-marathon in three months with the goal of raising over £500 for charity.
You can start a mini campaign on your social media and via word of mouth through your friends and family networks to both raise awareness of the charity and receive donations.
So, what charity should you raise money for? Ultimately, the choice is yours but here are some examples of popular UK charities:
- Parkinson’s UK
- Macmillan Cancer Support
- Great Ormond Street Hospital
- Cancer Research UK
- British Red Cross
The beauty of running in an event to raise money for a charity is that you can choose whatever charity you like to support. To do this, simply set up a Just Giving page, select your chosen charity and follow the steps for setting up a fundraising page.
Check out the following post for more information:
5. Cover at least 12 miles per week
Setting a mileage target is good for building endurance, promotes regular running and provides an easy to measure metric for evaluating progress as it’s made.
12 miles per week is a decent introductory distance target for beginner runners to be aspiring to. If you combine this target with goal number 1 above, you could split the 12 miles per week into 3 sessions of 4 miles.
Once you have routinely clocked up 12 miles for a few weeks, up the goal to 15 miles and increase again once you’ve accomplished that goal.
6. Run without stopping to walk
Beginner runners will find themselves needing to stop mid-run to catch their breath frequently in the first week of running.
Stopping is only natural because the body isn’t accustomed to this level of physical activity and needs to work harder to perform. However, over time you will find that you’re able to run for further and at a greater intensity without stopping as the body becomes fitter.
Aiming to complete your runs without stopping for a breather is a great goal for beginner runners to aspire towards achieving.
Once you’re able to run for 30 minutes without stopping, this is a sign that great progress has been made.
7. Achieve a new personal best
As is the case for starting anything new in life, the first few months of running will be filled with lots of nice moments where big strides can be made. Amongst these big strides will no doubt be setting and beating personal bests in various distances, hopefully as many times as possible.
Regardless of whether you’re interested in 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons or marathons, you should aim to continually beat personal bests.
It’s important to be aiming to beat personal bests because doing so expands your running ability, gives you something to focus on, and success is easy to measure (you either beat your personal best or you don’t).
Good luck for your first few months of running
There we have it. 7 goals for beginner runners to set and accomplish in the first few months on the running journey.
I wish you the best of luck and hope you have the time of your life. If your first few months of running are anything like mine were, I know that you will.