What goals should I set when starting out running and triathlon?
Setting goals is one of the greatest things about sport.
It gives your exercise a purpose and direction that is difficult to achieve without a clear objective. Goals such as “I want to exercise so I can look hot” are difficult to attain because they are not specific and have no time lines. By setting a goal with a time line and measurable result, you give yourself the best chance of seeing improvements in your performance.
Some people can find that competing in a race can be very daunting. This is where starting with self- directed goals can be more motivational, particularly when you are very new to something. In this instance it is best to create a goal that can be easily measured. Repeating the above example “I want to exercise so I can look hot” can be changed to: “I would like my weight to drop by 2kg’s within 8 weeks”.
Beginning running, or another individual sport such as triathlon or cycling, is great due to the variety of available races. Some of these races are hugely expensive and can be hyped about for months such as Ironman at a whopping $901 to enter; while others are relatively cheap and low fuss such as smaller club events, or low key events such as the Sri Chinmoy running series in Melbourne.
So I recommend when you start running to set small, self-defined goals that can be measured. You should resist setting a race goal too soon as you need to get several months of training to understand how much your body can be pushed in training (and thus what your goal races should be). Once you feel more capable and regularly running three times a week, then a goal race can be set. In my future blogs I will talk in more detail about A, B and C races, which can be coordinated once you are a seasoned racer.