Three Types of Goals

Running Goals

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There are three main types of goals to focus on.

Outcome goal:

  • Determinant of a certain outcome
  • Win a 5k race
  • Place top 3 in my age group
  • We want to achieve a certain outcome
  • Finish race/segment healthy

A lot of things are out of your control, not to mention that it would take a well-executed race plan and all the training to go well for this to happen. 

Performance goal: 

  • Similar, but looking more for a certain time. 
  • Break 4 hours in the marathon
  • Run a BQ time

The same idea here, though. If I didn’t reach my performance goal, was the whole thing a failure?

While it might be easy to say that Outcome and Performance are splitting hairs, you can reach one without the other. For instance, you might want to qualify for Boston (outcome) and to do that, you need to run a minimum qualifying time (performance). You might run the time (provide the performance), but still might not make the cutoff to get into Boston. the outcome was not reached.

Process goal:

  • What do I need to improve on habitually to become a better runner and increase my chances of reaching your 
  • Build to 30-35 miles/week for my baseline mileage
  • Practice my fueling on most long runs and workouts
  • Add core 2-3x per week 

These would be goals within a training segment that I can achieve while progressing to reach my ultimate performance goals. They provide continual opportunities to achieve success without putting unrealistic expectations on my segment-ending performance goals. 

Where do I put my focus?

  • A little bit of all three! Having an outcome or performance goal is not a bad thing, I just don’t feel like it should be THE thing that determines the overall success. You might have put yourself in the best shape of your life, but just had some outside factors not go your way. 
  • Assess your weaknesses in training and choose 1-2 things to focus on during the segment to create a new habit and build your overall ability as a better runner. These new habits and skills will provide short-term gratification, but in the long term, they will make you a more successful runner! 

Think about these things and apply them as you lay out your yearly and training segment goals. Follow me for more training tips! If you’d like to dive deeper into goal setting, join the Run Club and gain full access to our Goal Setting course, complete with videos, worksheets, and access to my entire training plan library!

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