As you probably are well aware, I am a fan of big goals.
My two big running goals are to BQ (and run Boston, obvi) and to run a marathon in every state.
Neither of these goals are close to completion at this point.
If I’m going to be realistic, I’m a solid decade away from hitting the mark (minimum) on each front.
I’m cool with this fact, and more than willing to continue to put in the work required to achieve both of these goals in the future.
In the meantime, I might as well have a little fun, eh?
The Problem With Big Goals
As much as I’m a fan of setting big-ass goals that take years to complete, I recognize that there can be a problem with goals of that magnitude.
If you’re the kind of person that locks in on a big goal and calculates every choice based on how it will impact your goals, you I’d encourage you to pump the breaks a bit.
That kind of focus is valuable, and a lot of times necessary, when the goal is almost within reach.
A few seconds from a BQ or a PR with a goal race coming up? Get locked in, take care of every possible detail, and go get it!
But if your goal still requires a few years (or more) of progress, getting laser focused on every decision you make actually may do more harm than good.
In theory, that kind of focus/attention to detail sounds like the best thing you could do, right?
But in actuality, that kind of laser focus on one far-off goal is more likely setting you up for burnout than it is for success.
Enjoy the Ride
In no way, shape, or form am I suggesting you stop setting big goals.
If anything, I’d encourage you to set some even bigger goals than anything you currently have on your plate!
(And yes, I’m taking a dose of my own medicine here. I have a couple of ridiculous goals that I have set for myself that may well take me the rest of my life to complete, if I’m lucky!)
Once you have some monumental goals in mind, some things that will take you years to complete, it’s time to have some fun.
What do I mean?
Well, whatever your goals are, there are lots of things that you can do to successfully make progress toward said goals.
Take my goal of Boston Qualifying as an example.
Logic would say that I should be in a constant state of marathon training as I work toward trimming off the final 58 minutes that I need to get to that elusive BQ mark.
I’m saying I’m going to focus less on a perpetual state of marathon training and more on simply having fun with my running/training/racing.
Last weekend, Beks and I took a trip to North FL so I could participate in the Bear Bait Ultras.
(Highly recommend this race, BTW.)
On the surface, running a 50k on a looped trail in Florida doesn’t do much to help me move closer to my BQ or 50 State goals.
But that’s fine. Instead of worrying about those goals, I just went up there and had fun!
Progress Comes in Various Forms
Those of us that are a bit more concerned with the clock and our finish times can, quite easily, lose sight of the fact that progress in our sport can be measured in a variety of ways.
So while my 50k didn’t result in me crossing another state off my list or improving my marathon PR, it doesn’t mean I didn’t still have fun AND make progress toward my goals!
The training for the 50k obviously helped me continue to fortify my base, which is going to help me to stay healthy and get faster in the future.
I was able to meet people in person that I’ve known online for years, which is always a good time.
I reminded myself that I’m capable of running farther than 26.2 miles, which will help me to have more confidence in my ability to finish strong when I’m ready to go for that BQ.
I think it’s safe to say that this race was an absolute success and that progress was made.
Make It Fun
So how does this relate to you?
It’s really quite simple: when you’re chasing those big goals make sure to have fun!
And remember that having fun in this sport is still going to move you closer to your goals.
I don’t care what your goals are, from time goals to distance goals to anything in between, there is room for fun.
Do an OCR. Sign up for a triathlon. Run some trail races. Jump into an ultra. Focus on really pushing it in the 5k this summer.
Whatever would be out of the ordinary, and sounds like it might be fun, do that.
You’re still going to be improving your fitness, which means you’ll still be making progress toward those far-off goals.
By keeping things fun, you’ll be making it much more likely that you actually stay the course and eventually crush your goals.
And there are few things in running more rewarding than that!
How Do You Stay on Track and Avoid the Temptation of Procrastination?
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