It’s important and arguably necessary to set goals for yourself. I like to set both tangible and intangible goals to keep it well rounded. For example, I might aim to take 5 seconds off my fastest mile or commit to being more patient. Why set both? Sometimes, when we set goals, we don’t meet them. By setting different types of goals, you will become more in tune with your strengths and weaknesses and will inevitably learn how to adapt.
Often when I set a goal, I give myself a timeline or a deadline by which I want that goal to be completed. I’m a very punctual person, so it is unlikely that I will give myself a few extra weeks to complete a task. I’m a natural born finisher. I like the feeling of finishing and I’ll do whatever it takes to be done. However, I have observed that I often struggle when I am impeded from finishing a task. I end up feeling unsuccessful when I don’t feel that I have the opportunity to work to the best of my ability. While that is something that I have decided to work on, I’ve come to realize that success has no time limit.
You might need 50 minutes to do the run that you want to do in 40. Be realistic with your goals. That includes being realistic about your starting point. That doesn’t mean that you will never get to 40 minutes, it just means that you have to come to terms with where you are today in order to better yourself for tomorrow.
I am in no way at the end of my running career; in fact, I am just beginning. Already, I can see where I want to be and I am developing a strategy that will take me there. I won’t be there today or tomorrow. Knowing that does not keep me from practicing. Knowing that doesn’t keep me from racing. I have to have faith that I will get there in time.
When I was training for my first half, I went through a period of weeks where I was really unhappy with my times. I thought they were too slow and I was annoyed that I wasn’t progressing as quickly as I would have liked. Then, I realized that what I enjoy most about long runs is not looking at my watch every 10 minutes. I enjoy pushing myself, running, and seeing where I end up. Now that I’m not training yet for any particular race, I am trying to do more “fun runs”. Whenever I get frustrated, I have to go back to doing the things that I love. We never know what the future holds, and knowing that gives me the courage to believe that I will succeed in my own time.