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The Power of Setting Targets

01 March, 2014 0 comments

Setting fitness goals

“The Power of Targets”

A running target is a great way to help us achieve our potential and improve our performance. Targets (or goals) motivate us and keep us ‘on track’ (if you’ll pardon the pun!), so that we can get the most out of the sport. A good goal should always contain a time scale, and when met, it’s good to reward yourself.

How do I set a target? Simple – there are various types of targets you can set yourself, and these should reflect where you want to be in the short term, or long term future. Targets should challenge your ability so as to improve performance, but should also be achievable so as to not knock your confidence.

If you’re seeking to lose weight, a goal might be ‘lose one kilogram in the next two months’. This is a good example of a weight loss target because a time frame is given to make the target challenging, yet the target is not too specific, so for example weight can be lost by doing all sorts of sports, not necessarily just running. For weight loss targets, the unit of measurement is body mass, (e.g. kilograms or stone), so it’s important to own good reliable scales.

A word of warning about seeking to lose weight: dieting isn’t always the answer and can sometimes cause more harm than good. A lack of certain nutrients can weaken our immune systems and therefore make us more susceptible to illness such as flu. Secondly, reducing your calorie intake can sometimes lead to food cravings if not approached in the correct way, this may mean the tempted snacking will put on more weight than you aim to lose. Finally, dieting is often not a good combination with intensive exercise; running requires higher intake of carbohydrates and proteins, which are contained in foods banned in a lot of diets.

Setting out a goal to improve your specific running performance is a little more complex. Do you want to be able to run a specific distance in a targeted amount of time? For example, within two months, you will run a distance of five kilometres and aim to do it in less than 20 minutes (This would be useful in setting a goal for a 5K run).

Alternately, do you want to be able to spend a specific amount of time running a targeted distance? For example, within two months, you will run for twenty minutes and aim to cover a distance of five kilometres (This would be useful in setting a goal for a twenty minute run in the morning.)

So you have your target set – but is it long term or short term? It’s worth looking into this and filling in any gaps to keep you actively working towards your aim. For example, if you have a big marathon coming up, you might like to set a target like: within six months, be able to consistently run 26.2 miles. It’s a big step (especially if it’s your first time in a marathon), and six months is a long while until the run.

For this, it’s good to set a few short term goals to help meet your long term one. For example, you may aim to run 5 miles in the first month, 10 in the second, and so on. This is because you can’t just ‘dive into the deep end’ and run 26 miles straight away – it needs practice and the body needs time to adjust to the high intensity of physical activity.

On the other hand, your target may be short term, perhaps training for a 5K race this time next week. But it’s worth considering what you plan to do after that race; for example, continuing training to keep in the habit of regular running and to maintain fitness levels. Or perhaps your long term target from a short term one is to beat your race time, say for example, by one minute.

Training logs are also a great way to motivate us and monitor progress. By ‘logging-your-jogging’ you’re able to trace your performance and stick to your short & long term targets. There are various methods to log-a-jog, manually using a notebook, mobile apps, or of course here at!

However you log-a-jog, here’s what you can record: the time taken (stopwatch, phone, or other time keeping device needed); the distance you ran (a GPS device makes this easier if the distance of a route is unknown); a ranking of how the ran felt/its difficulty (for example on a scale of 1 to 10); weather conditions (nothing too technical needed, just a brief observation used when comparing); your heart rate (if you measured it using a heart rate monitor); and anything else you feel important or that effected your performance.

Join the conversation on our social media channels using the hashtag: #LogAJog

Happy jogging!


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