Setting new running goals

A guide to setting your next race goal

Soon after a big race, you'll be looking towards your next running challenge. Getting this right is important and can impact on the rest of your running year.

First, after every big race, it's important to rest, recover and assess your performance. Be sure to recover properly before you race again, but there's no reason you can't start considering your next challenge while you rest up.

Setting a goal is important as it gives you a focus, but give it a few days after your last race before you decide on the next goal.

Start with a long-term goal that may be up to 12 months away. This should be something you really want to run well at and make a big effort for. It may well be next year's Virgin Money London Marathon, the ING New York City Marathon or even the Sydney Marathon - it's all about the event that you really want to commit to. This race should be the main focus of the next year, but there's no reason you can't set some medium and short-term goals.

Medium-term goals should be ones that can be achieved within the next few months and in all probability will be shorter than your main goal. There's no point setting a medium-term goal that is totally unrealistic, but it should not be too easy so as not to challenge you at all. Medium-term goals give you a focus over the next few months and you can plan quite a few races in this program depending on how you feel.

Finally, set some short-term goals that are based on weekly performances. These may not be races but training goals; for example: run 60 minutes twice this week, or aim to run an interval session faster than last time. These short term goals are based around very realistic and very attainable targets as they are reviewable every session. Goals should be simple tasks that challenge you a little but help guide you towards the main objective of the medium-term goal and more importantly, the long-term goal.

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