It’s easy to get caught up in New Year’s hype and set grand plans for the coming year. Indeed, goals are an important part of being a runner: They help us focus, progress, and stay on track with our workouts. But establishing a target can be tricky. You want to aim high enough to stay motivated but not so high that you stress out if you fall short.
The best solution is to set incremental goals—daily, weekly, and monthly targets that allow you to enjoy regular accomplishments and stay focused on your next step. Aim for the following micro-goals from Runner’s World and get on track for a great running year.
Get out the door: Establish a routine—organize your gear, set your route, and stick to the same time of day so that no matter what, you get a workout in.
End on a high note: In the last five to 10 minutes of your run, do something pleasant like looping twice around a beautiful block. Running bestows a sense of joy, so take advantage of such moments.
Run three days: Three workouts a week is the minimum you need to maintain or improve fitness. Don’t worry about how long those sessions are; just do something.
Get specific: Assign a function to your runs to improve your fitness. Add a minute or two to build endurance, or a longer hill to build strength. Choose a day to head out without a watch to keep things easy.
Hit a new target: Extend the distance or length of your long run from the month before—there’s nothing more empowering than pushing past your endurance barrier.
Run a race: Having an event on the calendar will get you out running on low motivation days. The positive vibe and upbeat crowd will keep you inspired and introduce you to new running friends.