This is a simple concept I learned early on from my coaches in high school and college. Basically, you won't be able to achieve any of your goals, if you first don't truly believe you are capable of achieving them. As my high school coach, Coach Green, would always say..."See it. Believe it. Achieve it!"
So, my first step in setting up a goal session with any athlete is to ask, "What do you believe you can achieve?" From there, we can get a real starting point. As a youngster, I struggled with this concept a lot. Most of my older teammates would call me a "realist" (meaning, I would set goals that most often were short of what I was really capable of doing). From this realist view I may have limited myself, but was at least able to reach most of my goals. So my coach, after dealing with my "realist" expectations, started having me set Realistic, Optimistic, and Dream goals. I think this is a great concept and I would like to expand upon this formula.
So, get out a piece of paper and lets get started...
1. Realistic Goal- Your realistic goal should really be a goal that you know you can run, but just have not had the right situation. Many times, the marathon is a good example of this. Marathons are tricky because about 50% of the time, something just doesn't work out that day. A good indicator of how to set a realistic goal is using other race times from similar races. Say, for instance, your 5k best is 20:00. This means your realistic goal for a 10k would be about 41:30. There are many pace calculators online that may be able to help you with setting this goal.
2. Optimistic Goal- Personally, I feel this is the goal everyone should really be shooting for. This is the goal you set where you know that if you put in the training, devote the time required, and have some decent race conditions, you are capable of reaching it. This is the goal that in the back of your mind you know you can achieve, but are going to have to work to get there. This is where the magic happens... what are you ready to really commit to? What do you believe you can do?!
3. Dream Goal- Dare to dream! This is the goal where if everything comes together, all the stars align, and the wind is at your back, you can run. For many runners this is still a very attainable goal, but takes all the little, extra things: more sleep, better nutrition, more double runs, and of course a little bit of craziness! Always have a dream goal. Where would America be if not for its dreamers? Take a chance!
As a closing statement I would like to reiterate what the quote states in the picture above. In the end, "success" or "reaching your goals" is really all in the trying. It's all in getting the best out of yourself, despite the end result. Whether you reach your goals is simply icing on the cake. Having the guts to go after it is really the success!