Personal Goal

We would like to discuss goal-setting in the future, but an impromptu conversation while running with my daughter last week led me to briefly offer my suggestions on this matter.

Setting goals is very important in everything we do, but it is very individual. Like most sports, activities or even school, we often find ourselves comparing our performance to others. This can be a recipe for disaster and can quickly deflate our desire to run (or do other activities). I often tell my family to set two personal goals. Your first goal should be easily achievable, but a little out of immediate reach. Your second goal should be a little harder, but with a little training/work, also achievable. Remember though, ALWAYS measure your performance against yourself.

I had the opportunity this past week to run once with both my daughters.

The other night Madison and I went out for a run. Madison is still very new to running, but doing extremely well. Like most people she often compares herself to her friends. We had a great conversation as we ran, which by the way often inspires children to run a little farther. We talked about a short and long-term goal that would challenge her, but not discourage her. I reminded her that running should be fun and although you may run with people, it is an individual activity with individual goals and expectations. My frequent running partner and I are fortunate that we run with similar goals for our half marathon races, but he does not run marathons, so I set my own goals for those races. I like to push myself, but I know I’ll never run a 2 hour marathon, so I don’t set that as my goal. I challenge myself so that I can improve and only measure my performance against myself.

We are fortunate to live near a large park, with lots of trails that run along the ocean, past old turrets and batteries of a century-old defence fortification. Madison and I had a great run, enjoying the views and the conversation, as we discussed goal-setting.  She now has set her own goals for her next 10k, at the end of August.

My run with Gabrielle was quite different. The only goals we discuss is where she wants to run and how far. We want the girls to enjoy running and at Gabrielle’s age (8) my wife and I believe this should be her only goals. She is interested in her times when she goes in an event, but with us she just wants to run and talk. We ran a shorter run through the park and even stopped at a high point to look out over the water and all the sail boats. Running with your children gives you a great chance to talk, or should I say listen. Gabrielle talked about school, dancing, running and music. Before I knew it our 5k run was done.

I am proud of my wife and daughters’ progress and I’m happy we can all get outside and run. As I look out the window at the clear sky and warm sunny day I challenge every family to put on your sneakers and head outside. Run around the block, run a kilometer or run longer, but just get out and run. Set a goal for yourself, no matter how small. You’ll be glad you did.

Yours in running,

Mark

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