How do you stay motivated without races to train? You shift your focus away from PR’s being the only thing that gets you out the door! It’s time for running goals that will keep you going, no matter what’s happening.
In my book, I dive in to this topic and we go a lot more in to finding your WHY.
I can almost guarantee you didn’t start running just to hit a PR.
Which means there are absolutely other things that could excite you, motivate you and get you out the door even for cold weather running!
Luckily, as long as I’m able to run, I’m a pretty dang happy runner. I think we all need a reminder that fast isn’t the only way to be successful.
10 Running Goals Beyond Races
It’s not uncommon for me to run 1600 miles a year while doing only one race, so PR’s stopped being a driving force for me.
But they are fun!!
So when that’s not going to happen, you can enjoy a practice race and pick another running goal!
Here are 10 fun goals to keep you motivated, when the clock isn’t where you want to focus all your energy.
1. Pacing a Friend
Want to enjoy the race atmosphere without the pressure? How about helping a friend reach their goal of a new pace or distance, which you’ve run easily a few times previously.
You’ll get to enjoy the sites, be their cheerleader and remember that no matter what your finish time is the act of showing up is pretty spectacular.
2. Running a New Distance/Race Style
It’s an automatic PR if you run a new distance, which means you can simply enjoy the first go round knowing that you’ll be able to improve next time around.
- 10 mile road race
- a Spartan race
- a trail race
- any totally new to you distance
This idea is what go me to run a solo Ultramarathon.
I knew that my only goal was to finish and learn a whole lot about myself in the process! Which I absolutely did and I’m thrilled that I let myself have the time to chase that goal.Stay motivated to run without racing the clock with 10 Non-PR #goals Click To Tweet
3. Raise Money for Charity
Want to more kids drinking clean water in Africa? Want more kids eating 3 meals a day in the US?
Find a great charity to work with and you’ll find it easier to put in the miles. Here’s a great breakdown on how to run for a cause.
You can create your own thing based on running a certain distance or a certain number of days. Or you can tie to an existing race with a big charity foundation.
I worked with Run10Feed10 for a few years and it truly motivated me to get tons of friends together and see what a difference we were making in feeding kids across the US. I organized a big group run and that was so satisfying!Ahhh I do not miss the never ending sweat of my Miami days, this is circa 2012…notice the sweat shine at 5AM!
4. Commit to Finding a Running Partner
As a solo runner, I know many of you enjoy your running time as a chance to disconnect and think.
But there’s simply too much research proclaiming the benefits of running with others to ignore it.
Get over your fear of joining a running group, put forth a little extra effort to meet up with a friend one day each week or start making your get-togethers more fitness focused.
- It provides accountability
- Run with a faster friend on your speed work days
- Grab a newer runner to help them on your easy day and you’ll actually keep it easy
5. Do the Strength Training
Instead of simply focusing on running for speed building, start truly building a strong body.
Studies show that adding strength work and plyometrics can increase your speed.
- Even 2 full body days per week is going to pay off in better endurance and less injuries
- Start small with 10 minutes a day pre-run with the Core Challenge
- And oh yes…add in little bits of plyo.
Try adding 1 rep every week to the number of squat jumps, burpees, jump lunges or even pull ups you currently can do.
YES my dear masters runners this applies to you too! It’s even more important with age that we do some of the explosive movements to overcome dropping hormones and age related issues.
6. Focus on Consistency
What happens when your body no longer allows you to run the way you used to?
I know this all too well, but so does Lisa of Run Wiki who was far faster than I’ll likely ever be and now is focusing on simply hitting 5 runs a week.
If her disease won’t allow her to PR, then she can still find the triumph in showing up, the joy in moving and the community that running provides.
Consistency doesn’t sound sexy, but just think about how it would change your week to get in a routine. To hit all your runs without excuses. To actually do the runner strength training that’s so needed!
7. Hone in on better Nutrition
Maybe now is the time to focus on the nutrition that will make your runs feel better or help you lose the weight that got you running to start with.
I decided that was exactly my focus a few years ago and it’s one I’m going to work on again this coming year with new tweaks.
- A big one I had to work on was increasing protein to help with muscle recovery and as is turns out cut my sweet tooth, but also focusing on the protein timing for maximum benefits.
- I focused on eating ENOUGH food to really fuel the miles and maintain energy! Make it a goal to test out your nutrition and truly start fueling your runs well.
- I continued my focus on anti-inflammatory foods to enhance recovery (currently trying to get back to more fatty fish!)
8. Diversify Your Route
With your eyes closed, you can map out the route from your door through the neighborhood and back to equal 3 miles.
Repetition is comforting, but it can also lead to boredom.
Set a goal to mix it up once a week:
- turn right instead of left
- can you run every road in your town
- hop in the car and actually run somewhere else entirely
- what about trails?? are you running those?
9. A Running Streak
While you know how I feel about streak running, a short term streak might be exactly what you need to get addicted to that sweaty runner’s high.
It forces you to start thinking more creatively about how much time you have in the day and to enjoy running in random new places to make it happen.
- Keep the streak short
- Keep the goal easy like 1 mile a day
- If you feel an injury starting, stop!
- A streak can also be just doing SOMETHING everyday. Run, walk, yoga, mobility, strength.
10. Race With Someone
Maybe you want to attempt a first race with your spouse, your kids, your girlfriends!
Try changing up your partners for an entirely new race experience.
This shifts the focus from what’s happening on your watch to the people around you, reminding you to laugh, giggle even, and enjoy the journey. I think Coach K has this dialed in!
Sure you could say that those who can’t do, teach and thus those who can’t win find other goals. I just don’t agree with that. I love that running is an inclusive sport and I love that running doesn’t have to be about winning a race.
We win every time we lace up.
Once you are ready to race, even Virtually, checkout these posts:
Choosing your race pace >>
Creating your training plan >>
Why you need a base building phase>>
Safely adding speed work >>
Why Peak Week matters >>
How to Taper the right way >>
Do you ever set non-time related running goals?
OTHER WAYS TO CONNECT
Get each new post in your inbox — talk about speedy service
Get more inspiration on Pinterest
Susie @ Suzlyfe
I KNOW that I am not headed to PR city any time soon–thus my focus on getting the miles in, getting them in consistently (well, not after this weekend, when I’ll have to abstain for a month for IVF), and turning running and miles into moving meditation. One the weekends, my miles are about other people–through coaching for Team Challenge, or coaching for my husband!
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home
I probably need to dial back my dream to achieve a BQ. It all depends on if my RA is in remission or not. But I always do have a backup goal–no matter how I do at a race, I always want to feel that I gave my best. Finishing is always winning!
For about the past 2 years I’ve set more Non PR related running goals, but surprisingly I’ve actually hit a PR at a race! O_O I love how you used even the trials you’re facing to turn them into lessons to share with us.
Amanda, I love this post so much, I’m sharing it with my training groups! I think so many runners get so caught up in setting PR’s that they truly lose the joy for running. Not every race has to be a PR!
Janis from Trainerize
Awesome post–excellent running goals! Love that they are not time-based.
I generally get bored during cardio sessions, so i would try this. It seems to be a good idea for cardio workouts.
Agness of Fit Travelling
Motivation and determination is the most import thing in everything, especially in achieving the running goals!
Lisa @ RunWiki
Thank you for this. I struggle every day to not only deal with my chronic illness but also to find my place in the running, blogging, and social media world as someone who’s “numbers” are small. Society praises follow and like “numbers.” How wealthy are you? How skinny are you? How big is your blog? How fast are you? How many followers do you have? I am struggling to find peace being mediocre. It’s definitely a process and sometimes a very ugly one but I have faith that I will find it.
Amanda, you have always been so supportive of me, somehow, someway you always know when I need something to perk me up. Thank you so much. Wrapping my arms around today and every day.