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How to set running goals that don’t involve PBs

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

If you have achieved a goal of building up to a certain distance, running a certain time, or perhaps both, it can hard to work out what to do next. After the runners high of the finish line starts to fade, it can feel strange not having a big goal to focus on. But you might not be ready to jump straight into something new.

You may want a break from heavy training to allow yourself to recover, you might want to keep up your fitness while you work out what to do next. Or you might want to look for another event while your motivation is high without committing to another ‘A’ goal straight away.

There are times in running that you might not want to, or be able to, think about going further or faster. But there are lots of other ways you can set yourself a goal without necessarily focusing on a PB.

Here are some of my favourites:

Try a different type of running: If you have achieved a goal on the roads, you could look at mixing things up by doing a race on the trails or cross country, or even on the track for something completely different. By giving yourself a bit of variety, you might find a whole new way to enjoy running.

Aim for a shorter distance: Runners often think about trying to run further, and are always looking to challenge themselves. But running further isn’t the only way to challenge yourself. You could aim to work on your PB at 5km or 10km, or even something shorter if you look at the track or cross country. Training for short distances can be quite different to training for a long race, and is another good way to give yourself some variety.

Enter a team event: A great way to set a different type of goal and have some fun at the same time is by teaming up with your friends to enter a race. Some events offer relay options for people to complete different sections of the run, or you could even find some multi-talented friends and do a team triathlon.

Enter a destination race: Combine running with a holiday and enter a race in a unique location. It doesn’t have to be somewhere that is a fast course, but could be a one off type experience, like the Australian outback marathon or the Great Wall of China. The bonus is, you get to visit somewhere you might not normally go.

Set yourself a personal challenge: It could be to slow down your recovery runs, become a better hill runner, build your aerobic capacity, stick to a running routine, or even try some new parkruns. These things can help your overall training and put you in a great position to train for another event in the future.

For tips on what to do when you don’t have a goal at all, click here.

Trail running
Trying to be a trail runner

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