Monday, 16 January 2012


I have been talking to a few friends about race goals the other day. Maybe it's because I'm very outcome-focussed at work (I've had more than one leaving card signed with the phrase "what's your objective?") or because John Bingham does a good chapter on goals, strategy and tactics.

For new runners, I've always warned against time goals. So you finish a marathon under four hours but injure yourself, is that a goal met? Or you finish really well but in 4:01 and beat yourself up for 61 seconds? That's not me. My goals have been pretty simple: finish the same day I start, with a smile on my face, and injury free. That was my Berlin goal. I didn't have a smile on my face when I finished - so maybe that is why I found myself running Athens one year later!

Now I have run two marathons I have learned a lot about running I feel ready for a time goal. I think this will push me to focus on what usually falls apart between my 20 mile training runs (with good 3 hour finish times) and my actual marathons (with 5 hour finish times!) Also it gives me a pace to focus on for the run. Will I be gutted if I don't make my time? Not really. I will be very concerned mid-race if I don't because it means something has gone wrong! But the goals for London Ultra: to finish the same day I start, to finish strong and injury free, to finish with a smile on my face, to feel like I could not have done any better.


  1. I think your goals are great...and should be the objective of every race!

    But I can't help having a time goal. It forces me to train better and to be honest....I DO want to get faster! Mostly because I want to see if it's possible, but also because it would be so cool if it actually happened. Me. Fast. LOL! It's a crazy dream! :)

  2. I don't have a problem with time goals for experienced runners just for people doing their first race; makes me nervous for them!

  3. True! First races are about finishing. Actually, that was my goal for my first, second, and third races. Maybe more! :)