Getting Specific About Running Goals
In order to come up with a program that will work best for you, you need to be specific about your needs and goals. Obtain a new notebook and label it simply “Running.” On the first page, think about what you want to accomplish. Consider, for example:
Is your primary goal to lose a certain amount of weight? How much do you want to lose? Be realistic about how long it should take. You'll have a sense of how well the running complements the other work you do to reach your weight-loss goal once you are doing it regularly. Don't assume, however, that a slow mile-long jog every few days is going to drop you from a size 10 to a size 6 in a couple of months. Jogging will certainly help to lose inches, but it'll take time.
Is your goal to advance from an occasional run through the neighborhood park to competing in an organized race? Do you want to start with a 5K, or have you suddenly decided you want to run a marathon next year?
Have you chosen running as an economical alternative to a health club membership? Hey, why not? You're certainly out less money in the long run if in a few months you realize you have neither the time nor inclination for regular exercise. All the same, you won't regret choosing running, both for the cost savings and for the way you're going to feel once you get into it.
Do you need to fit running into a very busy schedule? If so, you may only have time for a half-hour run a day. That's fine! This book will help you to optimize the time you do have.
How many times have you intended to change something in your life but it didn't happen? Lots of times, if you're like most people. Well, that's not going to happen this time. You're going to start small, have incremental success, and stay motivated by the growing difference in how you look and feel. You can do this by setting realistic, feel-good goals.
Whatever short- or long-term running goals you have chosen, identify them in your notebook so you can be reminded of them. This will keep you focused when the inevitable temptation to do other things comes up. Don't be vague about your goals. Decide which is your number-one goal, and stick with the program that will help you to achieve it.
Haphazardly jumping from one training plan to another will only frustrate you and take you further away from achieving something significant. If possible, find a coach and follow her training plan. A qualified coach will consult with you on a regular basis so that your program can be modified should you experience fatigue, soreness, or injury.