Setting goals is important regardless of where you are as a runner. Goals keep us focused on the present, help us to learn from the past and look forward to the future. Running goals are, by and large, completely dependent on the individual. You are responsible for the races you choose, the training hours you put in, what foods go in your mouth – everything. If you are realistic about where you are you can set goals that are challenging but certainly attainable. Here are the goals I set out for myself at the beginning of the year.

1) Staying healthy!

This is the goal that is both the most reasonable and most challenging. The vast majority of injuries are preventable just by listening to your own body. However, there are always unforeseen things that can happen over the course of 12 years. Dialing back mileage and even skipping occasional workouts is something that I may have to do in order to stay healthy. I also need to be more consistent with my cross training and strength exercises – both of which can be very helpful in preventing injuries. Most of my other goals are dependent on this one.

2) Growing the local running group.

The first running group I got involved with since rejoining the runnerverse was the Amherst Striders (who I am going to dedicate an entire post to eventually). Experiencing the support and camaraderie within that group was really eye opening for me. Even though they are only twenty minutes away I am rarely able to actually run with them but I felt (and feel) strongly that Sackville could support and would benefit from a similar group. The weather has kept many people inside, but the response has been terrific and I feel very optimistic about the future of the Bogtrotters.

3) Race in two marathons and three half marathons.

I’ve already completed one half marathon in February (the Hypothermic Half) and I am registered for another in September (Maritime Race Weekend). I’m also pretty certain that I will be racing the Fredericton Fall Classic in September as well. For marathons, I am registered for the Fredericton Marathon in May and I’m planning on doing Legs for Literacy in October. I’m not sure what other races I will be doing this year, but I don’t think there will be many others on my schedule. I am considering another half in June, but it will depend on what happens between now and then.

4) Running sub 3:45 for a full marathon and sub 1:45 for a half marathon.

Having run my first full in just under 3:53 on a fairly hilly course, I’m hoping that my training and a flatter course will help me shave a few minutes off of that time. Coming into this year, my half marathon PB was 1:51.36 and in February I exceeded my expectations and shaved over four minutes off of that time. I feel going under 1:45 is very doable. I am optimistic that I may have to readjust this goal before the end of the year, but if not I’m ok with that too.

Those are the main goals I have for the year. I’m hoping that putting them out there for others to see helps me to keep on track. If I’m lucky it will also inspire some others to set goals or at least give it some thought. I’d love to hear what goals you’ve set for 2014 and especially if you’ve accomplished some already – so feel free to leave a comment!