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  • Writer's pictureLiz Lichtenberger

How Runners Can Keep Their Mojo

Stay motivated by setting effective goals and having friends help you stick to it.

Runner hydrating

Do you ever find yourself in a little funk – like you’ve lost your mojo for running? Well, you have come to the right place because we know a little trick to getting that running mojo back. 

Goal setting is one of the best ways to stay motivated.

Are you wondering why you should set goals? Goal setting is a proven mental training technique to increase your commitment towards achieving a goal, so it helps you stay motivated.

What Types of Goals Are There?

If you are part of a running club, your coaches might have talked to you from time to time about different types of goals. One type of goal is an outcome goal.  These outcome goals are usually related to specific results in competitions like finishing a race in a certain amount of time (e.g., a 4:30 marathon), or achieving a personal record (PR). Another type of goal is process goals.  In contrast to outcome goals, process goals focus more on a specific skill or skill set that will help you with your running.  For example, these goals might be related to increasing your cardiovascular endurance (VO2 Max), or your strength, your flexibility, your hydration, and your nutrition.

How Do You Set Goals?

It's important to set goals in the most effective way because it will determine whether you're going to be successful in achieving your goal.  We suggest that you be “SMART” in your goal setting.

SMART is an acronym for setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based.

For example, if you had a process goal that was in the domain of gaining strength, you might have a goal like “for two weeks I will do a glute workout on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, including 20 reps of these five exercises: a double leg bridge, a glute march, balanced Ball hamstring curls, runner’s arabesque, and squats.  What makes that goal a SMART goal?  Well, specifically it focuses on one area with very specific exercises (the glutes). It's measurable because it tells me how often and what exactly is expected of me.  It is attainable because those exercises are all ones that I know that I can do, and I can also I know do the number of reps that I have set forth in that goal it's realistic and that the amount of time is one that I know I can commit to for Monday, Wednesday, Friday. It'll take me about 10 minutes a day. And finally, it's time based because it's only two weeks, so it's a short-term goal. 

For process goals we recommend that you have them set as short-term goals.

Share Your Goals

To be successful in attaining your goal, you need to share that goal.  Putting your

goal out into the universe is going to make it concrete and real.  To share it, you can write it on paper or digitally on your phone or computer.  Whatever form of writing works for you, but you then want to post that goal somewhere where you're going to see it. For example, tape it to your mirror, or on your refrigerator, or write it on a calendar. Next you need to tell somebody about it, so tell a family member, or a running buddy, or your running coaches.

Record Your Progress

Finally, you want to make sure that you record your progress toward achieving your goal. That process of recording is going to keep you honest and will also make it more likely that you will change your behavior and do the things that are part of your goal. Either record your progress by writing it on a calendar (digital or paper). You can also record your progress in a training log (paper or digital).  Alternatively, there are great apps available for recording progress toward goals. 

In addition, share your progress with your family members, running buddy, or your running coach.  Tell them how you're progressing in meeting your goal.

What Is Your Carrot?

As you develop your goals, think of what the end game is going to be. How are you going to reward yourself for achieving your goal? What will your carrot be that's going to keep you motivated during those times when you're not feeling that motivated to continue working towards your goal? Possible rewards might be a specific meal, or a drink, or a dessert. It could also be binging on your favorite Netflix show.  Other rewards might be doing a favorite activity with a friend, or buying those new running shorts you’ve been wanting. Rewards are really an individual choice, so plan to reward yourself with whatever is going to motivate you to keep you going and stay motivated towards achieving that goal.

Challenge yourself to set a goal or two today, so you can stay motivated during your training!


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