So you already know you need to and that there’s no real excuse not to. Running is one of the easiest ways to stay healthy, build strength, and extend life . You don’t even need any expensive equipment. So let’s talk about setting your running goals.

It can be hard to get started if you’re out of shape or don’t know much about jogging. The safest way to start is by setting milestones. In this video, running coach Jason Fitzgerald explains to the Strength Running YouTube channel (how and why) to set some milestones for your running.

What’s a Normal Mileage Level for Runners?

You can get your mileage up to a certain level and then keep it there and not have these wild swings and mileage you’re actually going to reduce your injury risk because most injuries happen when we’re increasing our mileage not when we’re comfortably at a mileage level that we’ve already achieved.”

JASON FITZGERALD

Setting Realistic Running Milestones

The perfect way to launch a sustainable running habit is to set realistic running milestones. As you start out, it’s important to give yourself opportunities to feel accomplished,t hat you’re making genuine progres, little by little.

Life-long runners recommend setting small goals to ensure that you feel successful as a beginner runner. As you increase in skill and fitness, your goals can grow with you.

And you don’t need to be afraid of the unknown, or worry that you’re not good enough. As Molly Huddle at Runners World puts it: “In running or in life, I’ve found it really important to not shy away from races, workouts, exercises, or experiences that I know I’m not great at or familiar with.”

Here are three ways that experts recommend you to return to or get started with running.

Finally, let Brooklyn-based Nike Run Club Coach Steve Finley share tips.

How to Set (and Surpass) Running Goals

Make sure you pat yourself on the back along the way. It’s going to give you a sense of confidence and will ultimately bring that momentum piece to the starting line with you.”

STEVE FINLEY

 Set time-based goals

For new runners, time-based goals are a great way to hold yourself accountable. But it’s important not to push yourself too hard in this stage.

One reason is that you don’t want to injure yourself. Another reason is that any resentment you feel towards being active will make it more difficult for you to get back to training. A benefit of time-based goals is that, as a fallback, you can always do a combination of walking and jogging to meet your time-based goal.

The exercise you complete will help you increase your fitness levels regardless. Any and all physical activity added to your day has a health benefit. So take the stairs instead of the elevator!

Here’s Strength Running again, offering guidelines for setting safe and realistic race time goals.

How to set a realistic 5K goal time

The ultimate thing is just to keep racing and make sure that you’re doing specific workouts that mimic the demands of the race itself.”

JASON FITZGERALD

Above all, make sure your training is appropriate for the kind of race you want to run. Don’t master sprints for your marathon! And don’t run a marathon mile when training for a 5K…

Set distance-based goals

For instance, you could set a goal to run a full mile without walking. With a tool like a pedometer or a health app on your smartphone, it’s easy to determine a good mile-long distance to attempt. Distance-based goals are a great way to see your progress increasing. If you run the same route, you will gradually see your distance increasing. You can motivate yourself by spotting landmarks in the distance and attempting to run to them.

Get more info on setting realistic running goals from The Running TV.

Setting Realistic Running Goals

Keep your goal in clear view. You should think about it when you train. When you eat and even when you think about hitting the snooze on your alarm clock and missing your morning run. We all lead busy lives which is why there’s so much truth to the saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ to avoid losing sight of your goals.”

STEVE SISSON

Sign up for a race

There’s nothing as motivating as an upcoming race, especially if you register with friends. Many running events offer various distances to encourage runners of all abilities to participate. Look for an event that is several months away to allow yourself time to train.

Realistic running milestones can help a new runner feel a sense of accomplishment. Before you know it, you’ll be blowing past your original goals and you can be an inspiration to others on their running journeys.

You’ll be surprised at how little time it takes before your dreaded daily jog becomes your most treasured, mind-soothing activity. In your happy, healthy, and active retirement years, you’ll be glad you got started running now.

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