Set SMART Running Goals

Targets help keep your training on track

Set SMART Running Goals

Runners love to get better. The sensation of knowing today you will run further or faster than you did yesterday. The euphoria that comes after running a personal best and the anticipation of running an unknown route propels you to reach new levels. We never become masters of our trade, but we always have the option of getting better. Runners — rookies and veterans — grow when they set goals. And now is the time to set running goals for your next season.

Using the SMART system will help you reach your goals.


Setting specific goals is crucial to success. A vague goal leads to uncompleted goals and will not motivate you to push towards your target. Use goals to help push past discomfort and reach targets you feel are beyond your abilities. This is a key part of mental strategy to get through races.

Try it: Set the goal to run a specific distance. Perhaps a personal record run — a distance longer than you have ever run before.


To truly get the bliss that comes with accomplishing a goal you need to set measurable goals. If you make your running goals measurable, it will be clear when the goal is accomplished. It is great to say, “I will run more,” or, “I will run faster.” But, those goals are impossible to measure. Goals will keep you focused and motivated. They will help improve times and give you programming that is useful to evaluate and make changes based on your outcomes.

Try it: Increase your weekly average mileage by 15 per cent from last year. Or run in more races this year than last.


Missed goals can be discouraging. It is better to set a smaller, more attainable goal than a crazy big goal that is a sure miss. Still, it is great to push your running to the limits. The lesson is that we should set goals that are built for us, goals we can attain.

Try it: For your next race set a goal with three levels. For example, place in the top 10 or win, beat your time from last year, or finish the race.


Why is your goal important to you? It is critical to keep your goals alive by setting goals that will keep the fire inside you burning. When you set your goal, it is a spark. Turn that spark into a fire by choosing goals relevant and mean something to you.

Try it: Decide what you really want. Do you want to have a leaner body, run faster or longer, or run something epic?


Deadlines. Nobody likes them, but they exist for a reason. A fixed deadline for your running goal will motivate you and add a sense of urgency to your focus. A great way to set a timely goal is signing up for a race. This will help you focus your energy and prioritize your running to meet this timeline.

Try it: Pull your calendar out right now and set a goal or two and mark the dates.

Set your SMART goals today. It is good to reevaluate goals throughout the season to keep growing as a runner and athlete.

Support Local Media

Since 1991, IMPACT Magazine has produced freely distributed award-winning editorial content, including departments on fitness, health, nutrition, food, training, sports medicine, travel and features on the top athletes across the country.

Why Your Support Matters

IMPACT Magazine has kept its publication free and available to readers for 30 years. We believe that everyone deserves access to quality, credible health and fitness content to live their healthiest and best lives. We pride ourselves on delivering the best editorial from the best experts in their fields along with supporting both local and national brands that align with our core values.

We are independently owned and operated and support local fitness and health professionals, writers, photographers, designers and artists.

Please consider supporting IMPACT Magazine by making a donation of any amount via PayPal below. Your donations will help us continue to make an IMPACT into the future!

Impact Magazine DonationsDonate to Impact Magazine


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here