Setting and Achieving Your Running Goals in 2012

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The beginning of the year is typically the time when we think about what we want to accomplish in the New Year. This reflection often causes us to set New Year’s resolutions.

How can we set goals that are meaningful, realistic, and do-able? I developed the acronym R.E.A.P. which stands for REALISTIC, EVALUATION, ACTION, PERSEVERANCE.

Be Realistic

Make sure your goals are challenging, but realistic. If a goal seems overwhelming you probably won’t accomplish it. The good thing about running is that it’s an inclusive sport. Your height, weight, age, background, and education don’t matter. You can still run. There are very few people who will be able to run in the Olympics or win a marathon, but there are still many running goals to accomplish.

If you’ll be running your first marathon, don’t try to qualify for Boston the first time. That’s simply not an attainable goal for most runners and will lead to discouragement at your effort. The goal of your first marathon should be to cross the finish line strong and be happy with your achievement whether it took you 4 hours or 6 hours. When setting running goals you should think big, but you also need to evaluate whether you have the time, physical ability, and motivation to accomplish the goal.


Before you can set and achieve goals you need to evaluate what you really want. Don’t let your desires and goals be dictated by others. Yes, it may be popular to run a half or full marathon, but the reality is that this goal is hard. Decide if this is a challenge that you really want to accomplish. If you want it bad enough, you can achieve it. However, if your motivation to run a marathon is to please someone else or to try and lose weight, that probably won’t get you across the finish line.

The proper motivation will help you achieve your running goals. Motivational factors that lead toward successfully completing a marathon include

  • a desire to live a healthy lifestyle
  • wanting to achieve a personal goal
  • enjoying competition
  • being affiliated with a group of healthy goal oriented individuals
  • increasing self-esteem, enhancing psychological coping mechanisms
  • finding greater meaning in your life

You need to tap into the motivational factor that resonates with you and use that motivation to get you through the intense training necessary to cross the finish line.

Take Action

All the dreams and good intentions in the world aren’t worth anything without action. There is a time to prepare and there is a time to take action.

Your goals should also be specific and measurable. For example, I will run a half marathon in May 2012. I will start training on Feb. 1st using a specific training plan.

You also need to surround yourself with the right information and supportive people. We all need encouragement and positive feedback. Interact with the Marathon Training Academy Facebook page and join the Academy.


There is always going to be something that tests your resolve. It’s important to not be controlled by the moment. Everything worth doing is going to be hard at times. In order to achieve the long term benefits that you want, you have to hang in there, even when the going is tough. Look at where you want to be in the long term and make your decisions based on these goals.

In order to achieve your goals you’ll need to have mental toughness. In fact, you’ll need to learn to block mental sabotage.

Running is tough. It’s tough physically. It’s tough mentally. But once you’ve broken through the “perceived pain” barrier, you’ll find yourself in a new state of mind, body and soul. Your overall well-being will improve tremendously. You just have to experience it. Keith Combs

I truly believe that if you will develop running goals REALISTICALLY, EVALUATE, take ACTION, and PERSEVERE you will achieve your dreams.


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We Wish You a Very Blessed 2012.

Cheers! from Angie, Trevor, Liam, Gavin, and Riley

We hope you REAP the rewards of running in the new year!

Leave a comment and share your running goals for 2012.

23 Responses to Setting and Achieving Your Running Goals in 2012

  1. Trevor December 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    This year my goals are to (1) run a handful of half marathons (2) run a full marathon in the Fall and beat my previous time (3) and cross-train intentionally.

  2. Rosie December 29, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    My 2012 goals are to go back up to 3 runs a week, one short one hilly one long.
    I have already entered a half marathon ready for October and I aim to improve on last years very disappointing time.
    Keep up the good work guys and have a superb new year! x

    • Trevor December 29, 2011 at 8:18 am #

      Hi Rosie, thanks for sharing your 2012 goals! Having a race on the calendar is a great way to stay motivated.

  3. Anna December 29, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    This past November was my first marathon (New York). Exciting, fun but tough, really tough. Now that I am attempting to step away from the feeding trough and get back on the running bandwagon, I hope to start training for some halfs and finally give the NYC marathon another shot in November 2012 with better training, both physically and mentally, so I can improve my time and be satisfied that I did my best.

    • Angie December 29, 2011 at 10:24 am #

      Hey Anna. It sounds like you have some great goals for 2012. Go ahead and sign up for a spring half marathon to jump start your training. There’s nothing like a race on the calender and money on the line to keep the motivation going. Best of luck!

      • Anna January 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

        Thanks, Angie. Without you and Trevor to listen to, my training would have been a struggle. Thanks again for the podcast. I have learned so much for the both of you!

        • Angie January 17, 2012 at 10:51 am #

          Hey Anna. Thanks for listening and being part of the MTA community. All the best as you continue to pursue your running goals!

  4. Gwen December 29, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    Hi! Awesome podcast! Really re-inforces & motivates goal setting!

    My first goal for 2012 is to stick to my training plan. I was good in 2011 about the running, but really bad about the gym. For 2012 I plan to stick to running 3 days a week, and add the gym 3 days a week, and then do pilates one day a week.

    My second goal is to increase endurance & to shave a minute off both the shorter runs & the longer runs. I plan to do this with hill training, tempos & intervals, and long runs.

    My third goal is to benchmark & to have alot of fun by entering all the 2012 San Antonio Road Runner races as well as all the Alamo Series races. That is 18 races for the year, 19 counting the Rock n Roll. This is five 5Ks, three 10Ks, some 4, 5 & 10 milers, three half marathons, and two 25Ks. I recall Angie said once, it is all about the medals! I really like the age group medals & the finisher medals! I like running in these races with my daughter! I like volunteering to help out the SA Road Runners! And I have met some really neat people who I think will be lifetime friends!

    Thanks so much for MTA! You got me off the couch! I am really looking forward to all your insights for next year!

    • Angie December 29, 2011 at 10:26 am #

      Hi Gwen. Thanks for sharing your goals. I like the fact that they are specific and community oriented. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is one way to ensure that you’ll accomplish your goals and have a great time in the process. Good luck!

  5. Alex December 29, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    I WILL be more intentional in my training this year after two disappointing half-marathons this year. My goal is to lose at least 30 lbs which will hopefully have a huge impact on not only my health but also my times.

    • Angie December 29, 2011 at 10:29 am #

      Hi Alex. Thanks for sharing your goals for 2012. Developing a sustainable plan for weight loss will help you feel better and benefit your race times. On average you will shave 1 minute off your 5k time for every 5 pounds lost. That can really add up. Check out Hammer Nutrition’s Appestat. I’ve had really good success with that supplement. All the best!

  6. Gaelle December 29, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    My goals in 2012 are to run 3 halfs (April, May and October), train my 9 year old to run the kids half mile, keep active, keep eating healthy & reduce meat consumption & keep listening to you guys!

    • Angie December 29, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      Hey Gaelle. Great goals. I like the fact that you’re including your family in your health and fitness plans. All the best with your three half marathons in 2012!

  7. justine December 29, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    This year I’m shooting for a half in May, and if I meet my goals and feel confident enough- my first full marathon in October, otherwise a trail running half marathon in November. I’ll also have a handful of Duathlons throughout the year – one on my 30th Birthday 😀

    Above all, my goals for the year include balancing my running and crosstraining and not getting hurt. I know if I can stay injury-free I should easily improve on my completion times and enjoyment this upcoming year.

    Thank you so much for the podcast, your fantastic personalities and information keep me very motivated – a very valued part of my training/life. Best wishes to you and your family this upcoming year!

    • Angie December 30, 2011 at 8:05 am #

      Hi Justine. Thanks for your positive comments and for sharing your goals. Scheduling in your cross training and taking care of little problems before they get worse are some of the best ways to keep running injury free. All the best with your running and fitness goals!

  8. Amy December 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    My marathon goal for 2012 is to have a successful race for the Boston marathon. I love listening to your podcast to keep me on track and motivated! When I ran my first marathon in September 2009, your intermediate marathon plan was where I started!

    After Boston, I want to continue running, but take a break from racing. I’m getting married a month after Boston – so that will change things a bit! My husband-to-be and I both enjoy being active, so I hope to do more trail running, biking, and rollerblading 🙂

    Thanks for the inspiration & information, Angie & Trevor!

    • Angie December 30, 2011 at 8:07 am #

      Hi Amy. We wish you a successful Boston marathon and all the best as you start your married life. Have a happy and healthy 2012!

  9. Ace/Ventura Gallegos December 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    Hi Angie & Trevor my goal this coming year is to continue running marathons and will attempt an ultra of 50K at end of February after running the home town Miracle Match Marathon in Waco, Texas (only 26 days earlier) it will quality me for 3 marathons within 3 months. Around this time last year I was worried about training and finishing a half marathon in March of 2011, which was my first race ever! I will attempt it again a year later this coming March to beat that time by over 25 minutes or more, which means I have to finish under 1:45. This was a great year for me regardless, finished 3 marathons within 2 months October-December, one of them was unofficial, just around the neighborhood. Thank you so much for all the advise and guest you bring on. I have just placed a good size order from Hammer Nutrition, still can seem to find something that works well for me, I am sure this will do it. When I listen to your pod cast make me feel like being part of something special and we all should be, we represent the 1% of the population, thats something to be proud of.

    • Angie December 30, 2011 at 8:10 am #

      Hi Ace. You made amazing progress in 2011 and I know that this next year will be wonderful for you as well. As you pursue your running goals make sure that you listen to your body so that you can continue running strong for many years to come. All the best!

  10. Foti December 30, 2011 at 6:17 am #

    I plan to run my first full marathon in the fall, most likely Steamtown. I also plan to keep up running in half marathons, as this is the distance I seem to be most comfortable (relative to longer distances) and I am able to train for them more effectively. I also would like to hit 1000 running miles in 2012; I came up about 100 miles short this year, due to inconsistency in running earlier in the year. Last but not least, not to overdue it an get injured, as I had happen in 2011.

    • Angie December 30, 2011 at 8:12 am #

      Hi Foti. Thanks for sharing your running goals for the New Year. With the right balance of running and cross training I know that you will make your goals. Keep up the awesome work!

  11. Wing January 3, 2012 at 7:14 am #

    My 1st goal, not for this year specific but in general is to complete a full marathon. I started running in August 2010, so far I have completed hand full of 5Ks, 3 half Marathons. I am going to run this weekend for Disney Marathon. I am a little scare and excited at ths same time.
    Another goal is the get the kids involve. They have joined me for the kids races last year when I ran. This year they will try the 1 mile run also. So excited.
    Also, I will run some more half marathon this year, hope to beat the time I have & do better.
    Last but not least, keep up the regular 3 days a week run except when I am sick or weather restricted. Sometimes life gets in the way and I work overnight, so run in the morning will extend my day even more. It is a struggle to try to run after a 10 hours shift.

    Thanks, good luck to your run too!

    • Angie January 3, 2012 at 7:26 am #

      Wing- thanks for sharing your goals. You definitely have what it takes to run a full marathon. I also like the fact that you are getting your family involved in an active lifestyle. Good luck at the Disney Marathon this weekend!

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