Setting goals will make you a more resilient runner

2013-12-28 00:00

IF you talk to many South African runners about their running goals they tend to mention the upcoming race and then mutter something about Two Oceans and Comrades.

These are mentioned in almost throwaway terms that imply that running such events is a given and that the remainder of the year is irrelevant.

Occasionally you meet runners who have a glint in their eye, and they wax lyrical about a specific goal for Comrades or Two Oceans, such as completing their first event, an attempt for a specific medal or a link to a milestone birthday.

That glint and enthusiasm is the light of potential irrespective of their current ability, because that is the sign of something deeper — a desire to achieve — and that is the driving force that can conquer virtually every known obstacle.

The minute a goal is set, the odds of achievement are increased.

When a runner says he or she is going to improve their personal marathon best by 15 minutes in nine months’ time, there is every chance that they will achieve that goal.

The minute such runners put pen to paper to commence “planning” a training schedule, or booking flights, accommodation and transport to the start, they commence analysing and visualising the race situation.

The more they do so, the greater the detail of the analysis and planning, the greater their desire to achieve and, of course, the better they are prepared.

Planning and preparation can often out-run talent.

Talent and physical training only takes you two-thirds the way through a race, but the decision to excel or settle for moderate performance occurs in the final third.

No matter what your goal, there is no better time to start this psychological training than now. “Now” gives you the absolute best chance of gaining the greatest benefit.

Thoughts on training requirements, fulfilling scheduled training sessions and build-up races all contribute to your confidence level and make you harder to break when the chips are down.

No matter, which event you are gunning for in 2014, no matter what level of performance or runner you consider yourself to be, planning will make you a tougher, more resilient runner on race day.

We can all be successful when we put our head and heart behind our goal.

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