Friday, November 25, 2011

Here's What I Have Been Wondering...

Does every run have to have a goal?  If I just lace up my running shoes and head out the door with no set goals, am I just wasting my time? 

I normally do have a goal in mind when I go for a run.  These include such things as:

1. Running for distance

Sometimes I have distance goals, such as 6 miles, or 10 km or 8 miles.  I know this will become more important as I get into my half marathon training program.  There will be a long run every weekend where I will want to cover a specified distance.

2.  Running for duration

Occasionally I want to just stay out there for a certain length of time.  For an hour or for an hour and a half. This was more important before I began keeping track of my mileage. I think it is particularly important for beginners or runners recovering from injury or layoffs.

3.  Practicing hill running

I did more of this when I was learning the Chi Running hill technique.  The neighborhood where we have been doing lots of house-sitting the past couple of years is very hilly so there is lots of opportunity for hill running, so it is not often my goal.

4.  Working on speed intervals

This goal has become more important to me.  I am a prettty slow runner and I do like to put faster intervals into my runs, hoping it will help me become faster overall.  I often go out on a run, planning to do some speedwork.

5.  Covering a specific distance within a certain amount of time

When I set out on one of the virtual 5 km races that I have taken part in, I usually have a finish time in mind.  I have done this with a few runs, but I don't do it regularly.  Again, as I begin half marthon training, this may become more important.

6. Having fun!

Sometimes I just want to get out there and go!  And just for the pure enjoyment of it.  I think this is important for me and do it fairly often, but in all honesty, I usually end up setting a goal on the fly.

What kinds of goals do you set for your runs?

Do you usually set goals?  Do you think running without goals is a waste of time?

Fitness Friday Blog Hop


  1. Not all of my runs have a goal. Sometimes it's a "let's see what kind of run this one turns out to be". I know I do have to work in more hill training for sure though, but I really do enjoy just getting outside for a run.

  2. I am so glad I found your blog! I love it! I am a brand spankin' new runner, so these tips are really helpful for me. Thank you! ;)

  3. I have at least one per week with no goal...what happens happens
    I always set a mileage though..well a minimum and sometimes I add to it but I dont go under unless I feel really bad

  4. My goals for long runs are to enjoy it and finish it!

  5. I absolutely think that "no goal" runs are worthwhile! Unfortunately I usually get so goal oriented when I am training I lose focus of just going out to run for the enjoyment of it. Need to remember to let it go sometimes!

  6. I think I side more with the thinking running without a goal is a waste of time -- while I love running for pleasure and the ability to "just run" even subconsciously I think I'm [hoping] to achieve some sort of goal...I love everything you listed -- very good post Elle:)

  7. I used to just run with a distance as a goal for the first year or so of running.

    Now I usually say that I want to run at a comfortable or push it with a fast pace...just depends on how I'm feeling. I usually don't pick a very specific time to shoot for, just go by feel, but still watch my watch.

  8. I would never say that running without a goal is a "waste of time", but I personally like to set goals to push myself. Lately it has been distance/pace goals, but sometimes its great just to say - run for 45 minutes. Or any time goal!

  9. I don't know that every run I have has a specific goal, especially this time of year when I am not training for anything, but maybe the goal is just to destress and unwind while having a fun time.

  10. most of my runs are distance goals... i'm hoping to start adding speedwork after i've been doing it consistently for a year!

  11. I have goals usually just for a distance but not too much with the no training in place right now. I need to have goals that is for sure!

  12. I wish i could get a running program started!

  13. Lately my goal has been to get out the door and once I do that, my goal has been to finish!

    My training plans are set to either distance OR time so usually one of those are present in my mind when I set out for a run.

    Next week, starting tomorrow, my goal is to get BACK on TRACK! It was a great weekend filled with food and fun, but that stops tomorrow! I need to get back in the Goofy mindset! ;)

  14. This is a fun topic. When I trained for my first maybe 2 half-marathons I just went out and ran several days a week, rarely with a specific goal. Since then though, I've come to appreciate the different types of "quality" runs and what they do for me--and I love them! Once that happened, I rarely have "extra" days for "whatever" runs when I'm training. And that's ok! You gotta do what you're prepared to do, and training cycles can change over time.


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