2 min read
12 Jun

A recent change in personal circumstances has, for the time being, completely changed my ability to train and take parts in events.  This has obviously been a frustrating time so I have taken a few days to feel sorry for myself, accepted the situation and have now moved on to the stage of reframing this from a threat to my running goals to a challenge.  As I have sat down and thought about how I can overcome this challenge it has been necessary to revisit the process of goal setting.

For a goal to be useful it has to be attainable and the simple fact is that my new circumstances mean that my existing goals are not. Setting goals tends to begin with what we want to achieve in the long run, and as I hope my change of circumstances is temporary I still believe that my end goal of achieving a ballot qualifying time for Spartathlon is still within my capability with appropriate training and so that remains  however what soon became clear to me is that my current plans to get there are no longer possible so it's time to rethink the process.

Process Goals

I have highlighted the word "process" for a reason, these are typically considered to be the most important type of goal for runners to focus on.  These are the goals that you can control and achieve and help motivate you to keep training when your event could be months or even years away.  Process goals consist of setting yourself a target for example to complete one speed workout a week or to run 5 times a week, they are goals that completion of moves you towards your performance goals.

Performance Goals

These are the goals that we are almost all familiar with, for many it will be to run a marathon, to break 4 or 3 hours in the marathon or to achieve a PB in a 5k race.  Performance goals focus on your own performance and so are also a good motivator driving you to achieve the process goals to move you into a position to achieve your performance goals, both process and performance goals are in your control and hitting your process goals will build your confidence and ability to achieve your performance goals.

Focusing on both of these types of goals is a positive, they are in your control, your ability to achieve them depends on you and your putting in the effort as long as they have been set at realistic, attainable levels and as such these are an intrinsic part of your training.

Outcome Goals

Outcome goals can be tricky, outcome goals are out of your control as your ability to achieve them is dependant on events that you have no influence over.  You could set an outcome goal of winning a 5k race but you can't control the performance of other runners and so you could have the performance of your life and still not achieve your goal to win.  Setting outcome goals is not necessary for all but it is crucial if you do set outcome goals that you also have process and performance goals in place as otherwise you could be improving massively but only take a negative if someone else is always faster or goes further.

The Result

If you decide on your performance goal, then work backwards at what process goals will move you in the right direction and trust in that process then the performance and outcome goals that seemed such a dream and you maybe only partially believed were achievable at the start are very likely to become your reality.

What Now

So this is the process I am going through, my performance goal remains the same, to run the ballot time for Spartathlon with the outcome goal being to run Spartathlon, the latter of which I accept is out of my hands.  So now I am creating new process goals and I don't know what they are yet but they will drive me towards these two goals.

When developing my clients training plans these are the goals I consider and moving forward the process of reviewing my own has made me realise I need these to play a more visible part of my coaching process.

Have you considered your Process and performance goals?  If like many you have a performance goal but haven't really considered your process goals then take some time to have a think and put some in place and I am sure it will help you focus your training and achieve your goals.

Leave a message in the comments about your goals or if you need help setting yourself some goals for your training then you can book a free consultation below and let me help you.