Now is the time when we look back at the year that just flew by, but it’s also a good time for runners to look ahead to 2014. Setting realistic goals for next year can help focus your running and prepare you mentally for the road ahead.
First, you need to figure out what kind of goal you want to achieve. For some, that can mean training for a particular event, whether it’s the Boston Marathon, the Mount Washington Road Race, the Reach the Beach Relay. If you choose a “destination race” that takes place across the country or even across the world, there’s the additional planning of transportation, hotel and other details to be worked out.
Others may set specific mileage goals, whether it’s 100, 500 or 1,000 total miles in the year, or 10 or 20 or more miles per week. There are so-called streak runners who aim to run at least a mile every day, which is no easy feat.
Some runners set their goals by signing up for series such as the 2014 New England Running Company Road Race Series (www.nerunningco.com/racing-series/ne-running-co-road-race-series/), the North Shore YMCA series, the YuKanRun series, the North Shore Trail Series or others. These require a commitment to running races of varying distances throughout the year.
Other goals may be more exact, such as qualifying for the Boston Marathon, lowering your 5K time or just setting personal bests in particular race distances.
Like New Year’s resolutions, running goals can be pretty tenuous unless you really take them seriously. That means dedicating yourself to your training, even when you don’t feel like it. Maybe you work with a coach or a running club, maybe it means coming up with a training regimen and sticking to it. Following through on goals is never easy. There are always short cuts and temptations that can throw you off track.
And sometimes you need to adjust your goals. If an injury means you realize in March that you won’t be able to run a spring marathon, then set different goals that you can achieve. Life’s going to throw curveballs at you from time to time, so be prepared to deal with them.
But right now, with a few days left in the year, it’s fun to just come up with those goals. The planning is always the fun part, looking ahead to what you can achieve over the next 12 months. Now is the time to think big. Accomplishing those goals is much more difficult, but with any luck, you’ll persevere and maybe even have a little fun along the way.
Starts and stops
Kick off 2014 in style by running the seventh annual Frosty Four 4-mile race in Salem on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 at 10 a.m. The race is the first event in the New England Running Company 2014 Road Race Series. Registration takes place at the Tavern in the Square from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. and the race starts on Front Street. Visit www.northshoretimingonline.com/reglivecb.aspx?eventyear_id=120 for more information and to register online.
On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments, or news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, Jan. 1: Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William’s Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail email@example.com.
Thursday, Jan. 2: No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, Jan. 8: Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William’s Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail email@example.com.
Thursday, Jan. 9: No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, Jan. 19: The Lazy Dog Classy 3 Mile Fun Run, Lazy Dog Sports Bar, 328 Broadway,
Lynn, 11 a.m. Contact: Stephen martin (Lynn Classical track) at 1-617-852-7690 or email@example.com.
Visit www.northshoreroadraceguide.com/race-calendar for more race listings.