How do I set running goals?

Setting up running goals is as important as setting up fundraising goals. As you know SMART goals provide you with a clear direction and a plan to get there. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.

When you set out SMART goals, you should also consider having short and mid-term goals that are in alignment with your long-term strategy. By doing this, you will break down that large goal into small, bite-size pieces and celebrate those small wins along the way.

These goals can vary depending on where you sourced your information from. However, we have provided you with some and examples that we believe will help you finish your run.

Types of goals

Time trial

This is a great goal for all levels. Whether you are a seasoned runner or new to the world of running this is one path you can take. Once you determine your distance and skill level, you then test it out. Gradually over time, you can improve on your time and in the process, you will get familiar with the pace you will need to achieve your goal.


  • Example: Run 10 km in 60 minutes by (insert date) – Short-term goal
  • Example: Run 10 km in 50 minutes by (insert date) – Mid-term goal
  • Example: Run 10 km in 41 minutes by (insert date) – Long term goal


In addition to this, I found when setting goals out is list 3 – 5 steps on HOW you are going to achieve this. Example:


  • I have three running routes I can choose from to defeat boredom.
  • I will train every Monday, Wednesday after work, and Saturday morning.
  • I will warm up and stretch before and after running to prevent injury.
  • I will monitor my stopwatch during my runs.
  • I will keep a running journal and document my progress.


These are only examples, and you should adjust them to suit your style. Repeat this process with other types of running goals.

Aim for a specific distance

Another goal for you is setting a specific distance you want to run. Do you want to run a marathon, for example, you probably wouldn’t run 26.2 miles straight off the cuff. You would have that as your overarching goal though with short & midterm goals you would have something small.

  • Example: Run 5 miles each run for eight weeks – Short term goal
  • Example Run 10 miles once I am comfortable with the 5-mile run for ten weeks – Mid-term goal

Tune up day

This is a good way to know your current fitness levels and determine if your goal is achievable. From there you can adjust your expectations or fix any mistakes that. This can be running your goal pace for 1 km, recover for 500 meters’ and repeat another four times.

  • Example: run 500 meters/recover for 250 meters and repeat four times for six weeks – Short term

You may increase this number dependent upon your race so please personally these goals according to what run you are doing.


Time management

Make sure you allocate enough time for your runs. If you have multiple goals that you also want to achieve then it is best to list them in the level of importance, then alter them so that you will achieve them without becoming burnt out.

Record your progress

Recording your progress allows you to measure your success over a period or identify areas where you need to improve. You can also add information about your weight, diet and mood to help better understand how you work.

Find a running partner

Having a running partner will help you when you need an extra push. They can also help by holding you accountable when you have the off day and try to talk your way out of going for a run. Lastly, a bit of friendly competition never hurt anyone, right?



The three most important things to have and do during your time creating and achieve your goals are consistency, fun and your own.

Consistency because doing a task regularly over time you will see those slight improvements add up. As with all things in life you should try to have fun while you’re doing it otherwise, you will get bored and eventual giving up.

Finally, make sure the goal is yours. Take your time when you’re going through your goal setting and understand you may need to adjust them accordingly, so it doesn’t add strain to the rest of your life.



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