How To Set Goals For Running

man running net to field

In this post I will talk about how to set goals for running. Goal setting is vital if you want to stay motivated and improve as a runner. This is the process I went through when I sat down to set my goals for 2019, I plan to run a half and a full marathon but I have never run a full marathon and the last half Marathon was over five years ago and a lot has changed since then.

If you haven’t been to a Park Run yet I would suggest you give it a try, the Park Run is a free 5km timed run that takes place on a Saturdays. It’s a good start for newcomers and seasoned racers alike, some like to race it and some just come along for a leisurely Saturday morning stroll with their prams or their dogs. You need to register before taking part so you can get a barcode to present at the finish to get an official Park Run time. The event was first started in England in 2004 and now takes place in over 20 countries around the world, chances are if you are reading this there is a Park Run near you, have a look at their global website at to locate your nearest venue.

I set my goals for 2019 after running my local Park Run a few times. When I felt confident enough I picked a day where I would give it my best effort and get a good time. It’s best to take it easy for the first few times to avoid being injured. You will need to time yourself as the official timing will vary depending on where you start for this you can use a stopwatch on your phone or one of many fitness tracking apps, my favorite is Strava, its a great app for tracking your progress and meeting runners of similar ability to run with. There are also segments which many runners and cyclist compete to be crowned King of The Mountain.

Image of the strava mobile app courtesy of

Once you have your time visit the VDOT Calculator at Enter your time and distance and it will give estimates of your relative equivalent effort at longer distances giving you an idea on how you are likely to perform at longer distances and the paces to use when you start your training. There are training plans on offer at the site however if you are not ready to make a monetary commitment you can find many free training plans in many sites around the web. I will be posting more later on the training plan I am using and on how to find the right training plan for yourself.

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