New Year. New Season. New Goals.
Written by Arianna (Runner & Cascade Run Club Member)
Whether you’re new to running or an experienced runner, I’m sure you have some goal in mind for this year. If you haven’t done so already, make that goal real – tell people about it, write it down, make it happen – whatever that means to you. Doing so will help solidify that commitment to yourself and help ensure that you hold yourself accountable for following through.
Goal setting is an essential part of making a healthy running lifestyle a routine part of your life. It’s something our beloved Cascade Run Club coaches have us do at the start of every season, but what can you actually do to reach that goal?
If you’re too fixed on the end goal of finishing your first 5k or crushing your marathon PR, you won’t be listening to your body in the moment, while you’re training, and it can take away from what makes running so enjoyable, leaving you feeling burnt out or worse (injured).
Therefore, Cascade Run Club's challenge to you this season…
Focus on the Process
Tune into your efforts right now, at this very moment, instead of on where you’re aspiring to go. Shifting your state of mind in this way will pay off loads when it’s goal time.
For example: How does your body feel? Are you eating in ways that will help you achieve your goal? Are you getting enough sleep to let your body truly recover and heal from all your hard work? Do you feel like you need a good stretch or roll out session?
What about how you feel while you’re running? If you are mid-run and you start feeling pain, and you think to yourself, “…but my training plan says I have two more miles to go,’ just stop yourself right there. It’s always better to play it safe and listen to your body. Otherwise, you’ll end up overtrained or injured, which hinders your ability to achieve that goal.
The same philosophy goes the other way. We know that running is hard - as much as us CRC runners love running we’ll also be the the first to confess that it isn’t easy. Are you allowing your mind to tell you when to slow down instead of assessing how your body is currently feeling, potentially keeping you from achieving more in your run? The mind will always start to tell you to stop way before your body needs to. A huge part of running is mental strength training (something that will translate to positive improvements in SO many other areas of life).
Being a runner is a day-to-day, moment-to-moment battle between body and mind, and that’s part of why it’s so important to tune into the here and now. Make it a habit, and it will change how you experience running (and life) for the better.
If you learn to focus on the process, those goals will take care of themselves.
Joining a Running Group/Club Can Help
Many runners – new and experienced – choose to join a group running setting to take some of that mental pressure off. For example, at Cascade Run Club you will have a set training plan based on your personalized goals and ability level. With your plan already set, you know what you need to be doing to move toward your goal – no decision making required. If you come to practice and tell your coach your shins are in pain, they’ll either modify the workout for you or tell you to take the day off – decisions that are hard to commit to if your mind is too focussed on the goal rather than the process. They’ll be considerate and honest with you about what you need to do in that very moment, which relieves a ton of mental and emotional pressure from trying to drive yourself through a training plan without that kind of support.
Still hesitant about joining a club? We totally get it. We’ve all been there. You’ve heard how great the running community is and you want support while working to improve, but clubs can still be pretty damn intimidating. Many people are intimidated by more competitive ability or experience levels. Let us just go ahead and squash any of those thoughts for you right now. At Cascade Run Club, we are supportive and inclusive of everyone – no matter what your goals are, physical ability, or experience level. There’s no judgment coming from us, even on your worst day, we’ll be here to cheer you on and encourage you, and we’ll be proud of your achievements. Cascade Run Club isn’t just a running club; we’re the most supportive family you could’ve asked for.
When it comes down to it, other runners know your struggles. We have such a wide variety of human beings in the club, they just understand how amazing running is and how hard it is, and they think it’s wonderful when other people want to experience that greatness.
You Know What to Do
Remember – focus on the process, and the goals will take care of themselves. If you need some support throughout your process, consider checking out a local running group.
If you’re in the Seattle metro area, Cascade Run Club offers a free two-week trial. The trial is a great opportunity to meet the coaches and other runners while getting a feel for what a couple of weeks of a regular training plan looks like without any commitment.
Learn More About Cascade Run Club:
Thanks for reading!