This Runner's Trials

Beyond PRs: Setting other race goals

Whenever someone asks me about my goal for a race I usually respond with the letters “PR”. But lately I’ve been craving something more…

SMART objectives certainly have their place in achieving most of life’s goals, but not all goals have to be measurable and time-sensitive. Sometimes reaching a goal is more about the actual experience than the end result. I still have a sub 1:40 half and finishing the Goofy challenge on my running bucket list, but I’ve also set some other race goals that have nothing to do with time.

1. Complete a full marathon training cycle. I have never made it through an entire marathon training program without getting sick. Which means I’ve had to tweak the training plan and miss some pretty big runs.


A glimpse into my Goofy training. All that purple? Sick days!

I’ve tried 3 times and failed 3 times. I have no problem following a half marathon training plan to the T, but once I start running more than 14 miles at a time, my body falls apart. I probably need to look into a more conservative training plan. I don’t even care much about racing the actual marathon, I just want to know I can make it through a full training cycle.

2. Be a pace group leader. Running can be a selfish sport, at least in my experience. I’m always so caught up in my training and my races. I really enjoyed coaching Girls on the Run and I love helping friends who are new to running, though. But offering training tips and tricks can only go so far (and it borders on being irresponsible, but that’s another story for another day). Since I can run fairly consistent splits, I’d love to run as an official pace group leader for a half marathon. (If any races are in need of a 1:50- 2:00 hour pace group leader, I’m your girl!) I’ve heard most races have pretty high standards for pacers so I don’t expect to get the official title any time soon. It would even be fun to just unofficially pace friends and help them achieve their PRs.

3. Race in a costume. While watching the Disney marathon a couple weeks ago, there were so many awesome costumes and I got a tad jealous. My mom asked me why I never race in a costume and I told her I’d much rather be comfortable during a race than look cool.


Unless bunny ears count as a costume? Probably not.

This is still true, but I’m guessing running in a costume would add extra flair to a race and make for memorable pictures. Plus, I have a pretty original idea in my head if I ever run Disney’s Princess half marathon. I just need someone crafty to help bring my vision to fruition!

4. Volunteer. I’ve run over 50 races. Guess how many races I volunteered for? Two. TWO!  That is a super embarrassing race-to-volunteer ratio. I told you I was a selfish runner. Ugh. I’m determined to remedy this as soon as possible.

Anyone have any other race goals that aren’t about time? I want to hear them. I’m trying to let my competitive side take a back seat for a while. I’d love to get ideas for other goals!

Comments (9) Trackbacks (3)
  1. I love these goals. I need to volunteer more, too! And running in costume can be comfy too, just make your normal running gear the base for the costume. Try starting with a short, costumed 5K. I ran in big boxes as a refrigerator once and Wall-E another year.

  2. Great goals, Jen! I too need to stop being so selfish and get my but up early to volunteer, not just run. I also would love to be a pace setter someday. That ‘Official Pacer’ t-shirt would get worn to death afterwards! ;)

  3. I love this. I think setting other goals can be so awesome. I have never actually volunteered at a race and now I want to :)

  4. we should totally dress up at one of the dumbo races. How fun! I need to volunteer more, too.

  5. Yay! You’re blogging!!! Catching up now. These are great goals. I always get sick during marathon training, too, which is why I’m done with marathons. My new goal is to do a half in under 1:40 — please help me!

  6. Jen, Have you heard of the book Run Less, Run Faster? It’s all about running quality miles over quantity. You only do 3 runs a week- one speedwork run, one tempo run, and one long run- at specific paces. In between each of those runs you do 2 days of cross-training. It’s really a ‘less is more’ approach that works well for people without a lot of time and people whose bodies have a tough time with high volume training. It helped me bring my marathon time from 4:35 to 4:15 and then 4:07. I’m using it for my next fall marathon – my first one after baby! It’s definitely worth looking into!

  7. I was excited to see a picture of a pregnant you running on my new favorite facebook page: Favorite Run.

  8. I LOVE your blog. I went back through all of your prenatal running posts, belly pictures, and especially loved your post about how becoming a mom makes you fast (which is actually how I found you, via googling that topic!).

    Look forward to reading more and staying inspired as I venture into pregnancy and pregnant running/exercising!

  9. You should look into Runner’s World Less is more training plan for marathons. I trained for my first two marathons with a lot of running and was always getting hurt and worn down and then I tried the less is more plan which is three key runs a week and cross training the other days. It’s more about quality runs over quantity. The three runs you do each week are intense! I was still nervous on if I would be prepared or not come race day but I was more than prepared and completed my race with flying colors! :)

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