Setting and Achieving Running Goals in 2011

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Most of us have probably notoriously made resolutions for the year and fallen off the wagon by the end of January.

In fact, I have read that many people fail by January 5th!

Do you have a plan to implement and achieve your running goals in 2011?

Here are two very powerful factors that have helped me make time for exercise, lose weight, and run marathons.

These factors are so simple you might be tempted to overlook them, but you must have both working for you to be a successful marathoner.


Your mind is your best friend when it comes to achieving goals. You have to believe that you CAN do amazing new things. The mind is very powerful and can either be a tool to help or hinder us. I believe that running is at least 50% mental. Chances are that your body can go the distance, if your mind doesn’t talk you out of it.

One of the “secrets” of successful athletes, business people, and politicians is that they have confidence. You have to eliminate the negative self talk that goes through your mind frequently and replace it with positive truth. Get rid of “I can’t” from your vocabulary. Surround yourself with positive, encouraging people as much as possible.


In order for true change to happen you have to persistently introduce into your weekly routine the new desired behavior. The key is persistence. Keep making yourself do the right thing until it becomes a habit. Once you have formed a new habit you have succeeded in changing your life.

Never underestimate the power of habits. We live by habits. Every day you slip into your car, put the key in the ignition, back out of the driveway, shift into drive, and zoom down the road without much effort. But do you remember how awkward it felt when you were just learning how to drive? Your mind and body can be trained to do things habitually, so why not allow running to become a habit. Research has shown that it takes only about three or four weeks for an activity to become a habit.

Help with Your Running Goals
Do you want to totally rock in 2011? First you need to evaluate where you are on your running journey. Next, start taking action. If you are a beginner, intermediate, or veteran here are some recommendations for you:

  • Beginners: Welcome to the wonderful world of running! You are starting on an amazing journey that will take you places you’ve only dreamed of. It will force you to push yourself past your limits and in the process will teach you more about your character. Train to run a 5k this Spring. Check out our beginner page for some options.
  • Intermediate: You’ve been running for a few months to a few years. Maybe you’ve conquered the 5k or 10k and are looking for new challenges. Maybe you’re returning to running from a hiatus. Make sure you have a solid running base built up and then consider training for a half or full marathon. There is no time like the present to make your marathon dream a reality. A marathon won’t just happen to you. Download one of our free training plans and get started today.
  • Veteran: You’ve been running for years. Maybe you’ve tackled a variety of distances and completed a couple of marathons. You appreciate running, but maybe your routine has gotten a little stale. This may be the year to take on a new challenge. Train for an ultra or triathlon this year or start trail running. Work on setting a PR in multiple distances, consider joining the 50 State Club or becoming a Marathon Maniac, or run every day of the year. The options can be as individual as you are. Don’t sentence yourself to a ho-hum year, make it memorable!

Other Ideas to Increase Your Fitness in 2011

  • Increase your flexibility by stretching regularly
  • Incorporate regular cross training into your running schedule
  • Do 50 pushups
  • Inspire a family member or friend to become a runner
  • Fall in love with a new sport or exercise (like yoga!)
  • Learn to run barefoot or with minimalistic running shoes

I believe that when you set realistic goals and implement a plan to achieve them, you’ll get the satisfaction of seeing them become reality. Take your running to the next level and make this year amazing.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

RunKeeper alows you to track your miles and watch your progress. You can upload Garmin runs to their web site. Download the app FREE until February.

Other tools for logging your miles
mapmyrun, logyourrun, runningahead, and logthatrun

Success Book
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin


I’d love to hear about your goals in this New Year. Leave a comment on our blog, post your goals on our Facebook page, or send me an email.

Happy running in the New Year!

14 Responses to Setting and Achieving Running Goals in 2011

  1. Trevor January 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    My fitness goals for 2011 include running a half and full marathon, eating well, and spending lots of time in the great outdoors.

    • Angie January 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

      I didn’t know that you wanted to do a full marathon this year. That’s an awesome goal! I’ll do everything I can to support and encourage you.

  2. Imelda Gerard January 5, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    My fitness goal is to run 1000 miles this year, which means 20-25 miles per week (2 weeks for illness, etc.). I also want to be half-marathon ready. If someone says, “Hey let’s run a half next month, I can say “Sure!” as if it was a 5k.

    • Angie January 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your goals Imelda. I like to stay in half marathon shape too. Keep up the great work!

  3. Kenley Jones January 8, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    Thanks for all that you are doing here. New to your podcast and site thanks to Itunes. My new goals for this year are to implement regular press ups into my weekly diet of training, in which I am training for the Gettysburg Marathon May 1st. This is my second week into that phase by doing them 3x week 3X10 working my way up. I started running again 2 years ago. I did track in high school with a best mile time of 4:38. That was almost 20 years ago as I now struggle with just under 10 minute miling but getting there no doubt. When I started back 2 years ago, I couldn’t even run 400 yards. Cheers and keep up the great work here.

    • Angie January 13, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

      Thank you for sharing some of your running journey and current goals. Keep up the great work with your marathon training!

  4. Tony January 17, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    Great site and podcast. Really like listening on the long runs. Training for my first marathon on May 15th in Ireland. Hoping my legs keep up – they tend to ‘go’ once the LSR reachs 13 miles or so. But with new orthotics and revised stretching plan hoing all goes well this time…

    • Angie January 19, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

      Hi Tony. Glad that you’re enjoying the podcast. It’s exciting to hear that you’ll be doing your first marathon this spring! Make sure you focus on proper fueling, pacing yourself, and a good post-run recovery routine. Keep up the great work!

  5. Beth February 7, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Hi Angie!

    I listened to the podcast for the first time today and really like it! I ran my first half marathon last year, and my goal this year is to run the same half and beat my time. I will also run my first marathon, and I’m really excited about it now that I’ve found your blog and podcast! I think the information and inspiration you provide will really keep me focused and motivated. In the podcast that goes with this blog, you mention a writer that had an excerpt from his book in Running Times. The parts that you read were very insightful and inspirational. What was his name and the name of his book?

    Thanks for all your hard work….your dedication to helping people enjoy running and change their lives really shows!

    • Angie February 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      Hey Beth,
      Thanks for sharing your running goals for 2011. It sounds like you have some great plans and I’m glad that we can help motivate you. The book I mentioned is called “After the Last PR” by Dave Griffin. Keep up the awesome work!

  6. Cassey March 15, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    Hi guys! Great podcast. Really gets my hubby & me motivated. Our goal for 2011 is to do a couple 5Ks, and a 10K (for a “qualifying time” for the Disney Princess 1/2 in Feb 2012).

    I haven’t ran since early high school 9which was eons ago!). When I started training earlier this year, I was laid flat by a freaky ski accident that sliced my kneecap. I just started walk/running today on our treadmill. The last week I have been walking a mile outside with no problems.

    Our first 5K is in 8 weeks and I hope to be able to run most of it.

    Thanks for all your encouragement. Good luck with all your goals this year!

    • Angie March 15, 2011 at 10:51 am #

      Hi Cassey. Thanks for sharing your running goals. Having races on the calender is the perfect way to challenge yourself and stay motivated, Keep up the great work!

  7. Mel Zeppel March 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    Hi guys,

    My running goal is to complete a full marathon in July, and a half in May.

    My running partner (who lives in NY while I live in Sydney Australia) is very supportive and also works with me as a plant biologist at Uni. I love having him in Sydney as we do long runs together and he is very encouraging. Of course his NY running partner misses him when he is here!

    I find the mental aspects to running, and marathons to be very similar to the mental toughness and perseverance needed to be a successful academic working in research at a university.

    I love your podcasts and like to listen to one as I fall asleep or do the cooking. I like the gentle and encouraging way you suggest that your listeners can achieve their marathon success and do well in life.

    Thanks for all your wonderful podcasts, keep them coming!

    • Angie March 23, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

      I’m glad that you’re enjoying the podcast Mel. You’ve got some wonderful goals for this year. It’s great to have a good running partner. Keep up the wonderful work and let me know how it goes.

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