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December 26, 2013

On The Run: Time to set running goals for 2014

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.

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