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Goal Setting for a New Year: How to Crush Your Running Goals


Women toasting to their new year running goals.

The start of a new year often comes with a surge of motivation; many are goal-setting for a New Year, often to achieve fitness goals. For many, running stands out as a cornerstone of their aspirations for a healthier lifestyle. However, research tells us that by the end of January, 43% of people have already given up on their resolutions.


I know I can relate. I can’t tell you how many times I made resolutions that fizzled out by February. I’ve made the same “I want to be healthier” resolution numerous times only to give up when my motivation left.


But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m here to tell you that you CAN make your New Year’s running resolutions a reality and crush your running goals. In 2017, I ran my first half-marathon which was a result of my goal setting for a new year.


Whether you’re aiming to complete your first 5k, improve your pace, set a personal record, or conquer a marathon, success lies in a blend of dedication, strategy, and mindset.


This is what I work on with my running coaching clients, to help them achieve their running goals. Today I’m going to share some of the most important advice when it comes to goal setting for a new year and how you can crush your running goals so that you can become part of the 9% of Americans who actually complete their resolutions!


Here are 7 tips on goal setting for the New Year and how to crush your running resolutions:


1. Goal setting for the new year: Set clear, attainable goals


I’m sure you’ve made generic New Year’s resolutions or at least heard others who have. “I want to be healthier next year!”, “I want to run more”. The problem with these goals is that they are not specific enough. It’s hard to make a detailed plan with a goal that is that vague.



Goal setting for a new year.


Begin with a crystal-clear vision of what you want to achieve.  Specificity is key – it can be a target distance, a specific race, or even frequency of runs. Make your goal challenging yet realistic; able to maintain motivation without feeling overwhelmed.


Here are some real-life examples of specific goals some clients of mine have had in the past:


  • First 7-mile race.

  • Decrease their 10k pace and get a PR!

  • First 10k race; no pace goal – just want to cross the finish line.


2. STRUCTURED TRAINING PLAN


Having a plan to get you from day 1 to your goal is crucial to your success.


As a coach, when I create customized training plans for runners, I consider a runner’s current fitness level, availability, interests, goals, strengths, opportunities, heart rate zones, recovery time, and more. If you have an ambitious running goal for 2024, set yourself up for success with a customized training plan created by a certified running coach! It takes all of the effort out of it for you and you walk away with exactly what you need to hit your running goals!

 

💡 PRO TIP:  One of the most common mistakes I see runners make is increasing volume or speed too quickly. It’s extremely important to gradually increase mileage or intensity to prevent injury and allow your body to adapt.


3. CONSISTENCY


Motivation will ebb and flow, no matter what your running goal is. I can guarantee that the momentum you have going into the New Year won’t last – that’s one of the reasons so many people don’t see their resolutions through. The key is maintaining consistency when your motivation doesn’t show up.

 

If you’re looking for more ways to stay consistent when you aren’t feeling motivated, read my blog post on the topic.


4. PRIORITIZE REST AND RECOVERY


Believe it or not, rest is where the magic happens. Taking time off when it’s needed and proactively incorporating rest days into your training schedule allows your body to recover and rebuild, especially after tough workouts.


Runner doing yoga.

Adequate sleep, proper nutrition, and active recovery (like yoga, massage, or stretching) are vital for injury prevention, overall performance, and preventing overtraining.



5. MINDSET AND MENTAL STRENGTH


Running is a mental game as much as it is a physical game. Cultivate a positive mindset, practice mindfulness during runs, and develop mental resilience. Setbacks and obstacles are a normal part of training and accepting that up front will help you bounce back more quickly when they show up.

 

Be flexible with your goals and plans. Life can throw curveballs, and it’s okay to adjust your expectations or schedule accordingly. The key is to keep moving forward.


6. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY


Runner tired from training for running goals.

Pay attention to your body’s signals – they are always there; you must learn to listen. If you feel pain or excessive fatigue, don’t ignore it.

 

For example, your training plan has you scheduled for a strenuous track interval-type workout but you’re still dealing with excessive hamstring tightness from your long run a few days ago. Don’t just do it because it’s what the plan says. Adjust the plan.


In this situation, I’d advise you to either take a rest day or do a slow, easy run instead. It’s much easier on your body and your mind to prevent an injury than to deal with something more serious.


This is where working with a coach can be really beneficial. When I work with clients, I modify their training plan each week based on feedback on how they’re feeling so that working towards and achieving their goals is easy and fun.


7. ACCOUNTABILITY


Studies show that people are twice as likely to achieve their goals if they set up a way to be accountable. Accountability can come in several different ways, and you can pick one way or use a combination of ways.


Running group.

 

  • Tell a friend/someone you trust.

  • Ensure this person will provide empathy and support; that they will not judge or provide criticism.

  • Join a running group/club.

    • And share your goal(s)! You may find others have similar goals to you. My experience with runners is that we are very supportive of each other, and you may find lifelong friends/support by joining a group.

    • I’ve got a virtual group you can join right now! The Joyful Running Group is a group of runners who are working to prioritize FUN into their running routine while working to crush their goals. Join now!

  • Hire a coach.

  • As a certified running coach, I not only provide runners with customized training plans, but I also provide an immense amount of accountability. When you work with a coach, you have someone who is dedicated to helping you achieve your goals.

  • The right coach can provide support, guidance, and motivation while helping you stay focused and committed, even when obstacles arise.

 

The end of one year and the beginning of the next can be an exciting time – a time for hope and a vision for a better future. For many of us, that includes making resolutions to “get better” in one or many areas of our lives. If you want to be that person who can say “I made a New Year’s resolution and I crushed it”, then use these tips to help guide you as you plan out your goal(s).


Amy Bostick running coach.

If you get stuck at any step of the way or want to know more about what having a 1:1 running coach can help you accomplish, sign up for a free discovery call. We’ll chat for about 30 minutes about your goals, running history, and obstacles, and I’ll share how I can help you make your New Year’s running resolutions a reality

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