The start of the new football season brings with it talk of goals, goals and more goals. But football doesn't have the monopoly on goals.
Within running, goals are of fundamental importance to runners of any standard. Without them you can be directionless, under-motivated and under-achieving. Without setting the ambitious goals of Olympic gold, would Mo Farah have scaled his personal mountain this summer?
The target would have added life and logic to every training session in the months and even years leading up to the goal. Even at the opposite end of the spectrum, a beginner targeting completing their first 10k finds the incentive of the achievement critical to their training regime.
There are a few elements that are important when goal setting. Firstly, the goals should be challenging, but achievable, enough to make you push yourself yet still reachable. The goal should also be clearly measurable. For example, a sub-40 minute 10k or a completing a half marathon without stopping. It's helpful to write these goals down as a constant reminder and source of motivation.
Be flexible though, goals can be re-set if they suddenly seem unobtainable due to injury or over optimistic targets. Of course to achieve goals, it's really important to set mini goals in order to reach the big target.
So to go back to our beginner, they might set the goal to run 10 minutes non-stop for one day. The weekly goal may be to extend it to 15 minutes non-stop.
The monthly goal may be to run a 5k without stopping, all leading towards the ultimate goal of a sub one-hour 10k. Goal setting is a vital component of a fulfilling experience of running. Ignoring goals and your season could end up more messy than Messi.