Friday Five – Goals

Welcome to the Friday Five Linkup, hosted by my blog buds/local tweeps

Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!,
Courtney at EatPrayRunDC and
Mar at Mar on the Run.
Make sure to stop by their blogs for their picks and hop along to the other bloggers in the linkup, featured at the bottom of their pages!

This week’s theme is “goals”.  I tried to keep my post to 5 things, but there was more I wanted to share with you, so consider the “extras” a Friday bonus.

In case it escaped your attention (or you’re reading my blog for the first time) I’m pretty darned goal-oriented. I set both outcome and process goals.

Process goals have the advantage of being a kind of min-target that you can feel good about hitting, because they’re in your control, whereas outcome goals aren’t completely within your control. Here’s a recent post on Triathlete’s site about process v outcome goals.

It seems the general wisdom is that process goals are the ones to have, but I can’t give up my outcome goals (perhaps you can’t either)…I use process goals to do my best to achieve the outcome goals and to try to be healthier and happier along the way!

Note: I highly recommend Racing Wisely by Sage Rountree for wise words and guidance on goal setting.

Training Goals

1 – Run

I have one or more goals and a plan for each run, and each run has a purpose and structure/form to it. Even a recovery run has target mileage and pace. I may choose to – or have to – adjust those goals at any point after writing the training plan, including in the middle of a run. Making those adjustments (assuming there isn’t a situation that just calls for stopping) requires an awareness of the original goal, purpose or intent of the run to make changes that may still allow me to accomplish some part of the goal.

For example, yesterday, I had the last session of my 4 week speed module. The plan was 12-16 x 0.25mi at a certain pace. My energy level and soreness weren’t going to let me do all 16, that much I knew before I started. But I know it’s easy to talk myself out of things (being over-cautious sometimes) and I know I’ve started runs feeling weak/tired and then talked myself through them, wound up hitting my goals and being proud of myself….so I decided just to start and see how many reps I could do before I felt I might do myself harm. Turns out that was 8. While I’m disappointed I didn’t hit my original plan and I worry/fuss about that a little, the session I did met the intent and goal of the run – intervals at a certain pace – and so still provided some of the particular training stimulus I was looking for. Swapping in an easy pace day or a tempo run would have been generally beneficial but not achieved that specific purpose and thus would not have supported that run’s goal.

2 – Strength

My overall goal is to improve and get stronger in a way that supports my running. Any strength work I do has to make my running better or address some problem that’s affecting my running. I don’t do anything beyond that due to time, lack of interest and concern about overtaxing my body in a way that would cause problems for my running in any way. Plus, I’m an ectomorph – there’s a limit to what my muscles will do, and I’m okay with that.

In addition to the core sequence I had been doing, this cycle I’ve added Lauren Fleshman’s moves from her video on the Runner’sWorld site. My goal for core is to do that series 3x/wk. I have strength exercises from my chiro for legs/glutes/hips and I’ve added more from Coach Jay Johnson. Those exercises, the goal is 2x/wk, on my T/Th harder workout days.

3 – Flexibility/Mobility

The goal here is the same as with strength – improve anything that’s going to help my running, avoid what might adversely affect it.

Since last year, when I was fortunate enough to have a couple sessions with Phil Wharton himself, I’ve done his Active Isolated Flexibility routine daily. I haven’t been 100% perfect, but my rate has to be in the upper 90th percentile as I can think of maybe 10 days I’ve missed since last fall. It’s 20 minutes, which seems small until you’re doing it every day (and sometimes you just get sick of it) but it works. And that’s what matters. My chiro has given me a few stretches to do, which I fit in daily – or that’s the goal!

I’ve recently added the Myrtl series of mobility exercises post run, moving through an 8 week progression of strength and Myrtl from Coach Jay Johnson. I’m in week 3 now, where Myrtl is done on both easy and hard run days, post-run, so 5x/wk for me. I do the strength part 2x/wk.

I can’t decide if I’m going to set a goal of getting a certain amount of yoga done per day or per week as other than some quick stretches, it’s the first thing I wind up dropping under time pressure. A recovery yoga session (restorative yoga) once a week would be a good goal, but I’m loath to set it if I don’t think I have a reasonable shot – which is odd, because typically I can set some crazy ambitious goals without regard for their reasonableness.

4 – Recovery

I don’t have any goals here, and maybe I need some. Recovery to me includes things like trigger point, foam rolling, compression and icing. I also include my post-run recovery stretches and nutrition here. Probably the only thing I’m doing consistently is having a recovery drink after my long run. It’s not that I don’t do the other things as needed, it’s just that they’re “as needed” and perhaps I could benefit more and have better recovery and adaptation with a routine. I’ll have to consider that, because I seem to be recovering more slowly than I’d like and than I had been. A routine takes time, but might be a more effective way to get the results I want in a minimum amount of time. Even setting goals of foam rolling in the morning before work, trigger point in the evening would be a start.

5 – Nutrition

My goals here are to eat healthily and support/improve my performance, energy and recovery. I have a fairly large number of constraints in terms of what I can eat, how much (volume), when, etc. that make juggling my nutrition a big part of my daily life….sometimes almost overwhelmingly so. I still try to optimize and analyze and improve though it would be easier not to, but everything changes all the time, and life is constant adjustment, so it’s not always up to me if I want good results and to feel okay.

For example, in the couple of weeks, I cut out eating sweet potatoes (previously a breakfast mainstay with nut butter) because I kept getting a real energy/blood sugar drop an hour after eating them (and got horribly hungry again), no matter what tactics I tried. So I’ve gone with more protein heavy breakfasts – paleo bread sandwiches with eggs or turkey, anywhere from 20-30g of protein and 10g of fiber, but fairly low carb. Since I don’t eat grain, I get my carbs from fruits and veggies (bananas, squash, even regular veggies have some) so cutting out sweet potatoes reduced my carb intake a fair amount. This seems to have taken care of that blood sugar/energy drop and the associated 1hr later hunger…..but my energy levels have been pretty bad this week, and I don’t feel like I’m recovering as well from my runs (which are shorter because I’m sorer and lower energy). So I bought some sweet potatoes and will try to add them back in, maybe combined with the heavy protein/fiber breakfast sandwich to slow the sugar down in my digestive system.

6 – Sleep

The goal: better if not more. Due to job and training schedule and the vagaries of my body, it seems 7h a night is about the maximum I can get. So I try to get that consistently, and do what I can (mostly) to make it restful. My bedroom is cool, lights are covered, I am off the computer an hour before bed and use orange glasses before that. I even take melatonin or other supplements if I have trouble falling asleep. Unfortunately, my GI and eating issues play a role here too, and sometimes my sleep is disrupted because of them. This is definitely a process goal – do the best I can, try every day and deal with what happens. Analyze, adjust, move on.

Racing Goals


For races, I always have multiple outcome goals, some of which I share with others, some I don’t. For Shamrock, I had 5 outcome goals. 4 of them were achieved and I came close to the 5th. For Baystate, right now I have 4 outcome goals.


I also try to set process-focused goals for how I want to feel during a race, what thoughts I want to hold in my head, how I want to approach certain situations (what will I do if x happens, what mantra will I use if things get tough, etc.).

What are your goals? Are you more of an outcome goal or process goal person? How do you set and adjust goals?