In September, I decided I was going to run a 1:21 15K (2:30 faster than my personal record/PR).  This was a very lofty goal.  I was training for a marathon at the same time (i.e. going for distance and not speed), and on race day, it was unusually hot outside.  As a result, I crossed the finish line in 1:30:15, feeling PISSED OFF.


Mad face:


In January, I ran a 4:53 marathon.  In my heart, I know I have a 4:30 marathon in me.  It was a very cold morning (19 degrees!) and not the ideal conditions to do a ‘personal best.’  I crossed the finish line feeling elated and proud.  I didn’t even think twice about my time.


Happy face:


The difference in these two races was HUGE.  The reason?  I approached goal setting in a new way.  Not every race or workout can be your very personal best. 


Here’s the tricks I use to set realistic, achievable goals:


  • Set your goals based on what YOU are capable of at the CURRENT time.  First of all, I know it can be hard when you’re not the fittest or fastest of your friends (Megan, Meghann, and Kelly can crush me in races), but it’s important to focus on doing YOUR best.  The race is just against yourself, so set your goals based on your own abilities.  Also, look at your current situation to set goals.  Maybe last year you were faster.  Maybe you’re coming off an injury.  Cut yourself some slack and stop comparing to what you’ve done before.
  • Adjust your goals during your training and on race morning.  Look – life happens.  Maybe you get really sick and lose two weeks of training.  Or maybe it’s busy season at work.  Also, be willing to redefine your goals on race day.  Extremes in weather conditions really impact your time.  Or you might feel sick.  Adjust accordingly! 
  • Set goals based on other factors, not just time.  Going for a new distance?  Make it your goal to “finish strong.”  Or just do a race to have fun with friends.  Make a race about raising money for a charity.  Get your mind off time; races are much more enjoyable that way!


On that note, I’m adjusting my goal for my upcoming 15K accordingly.  A few months ago, I said I wanted to set a new PR, but I’m not sure that’s possible because I haven’t been training accordingly (i.e. speedwork).  My NEW goal is to just try to beat the 15K I did in September – under 1:30.


If today’s 9.0 miler is any indication, I can do it!  🙂


I ran 9.0 miles in 1:25 in the hot, hot sun.  It was a good run!  I started to take some walk/run breaks in the last two miles because the heat was really getting to me, but I’m proud of my time!  🙂


Pre-run snack was toast and almond butter:


During the run, I had a packet of Goo (100 calories).


And afterwards, a late lunch:


A lovely black bean burger (Morningstar brand) with cheddar cheese, spinach, and ketchup:


Sweet potato:


And melon:




I have a conference call to rush into!  And lots of writing to do.  Whew.


How do you set and modify race goals?  What are your current race goals?



  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin March 24, 2010, 2:53 pm

    I think your goal setting idea is a very sound one. It’s important to be flexible. I have a very competitive spirit though so sometimes get really down when I don’t meet my goals. I have a 10 miler coming up April 11th. First my goal was to be able to finish it, but now I’ve run 10 miles so I know I can do it. I’d like to finish it in under 1:30!

  • Allie (Live Laugh Eat) March 24, 2010, 2:54 pm

    I think it’s good to have a goal RANGE too. Like a 20-30 min. range for a goal time that way if it’s not as cut and dry.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) March 24, 2010, 2:56 pm

    since i don’t race, i don’t really set goals for that, but when i workout for a reason (i.e. hiking) i try to set a time or weight that’s going to be more challenging than the last time but still doable. i just don’t force myself to do something i know i can’t do, and try to be easy on myself if i don’t meet the goal.

  • Brie (The Fit Bride) March 24, 2010, 2:56 pm

    My race goal for my upcoming (first!) half marathon is just to finish. My (not-so) secret goal is to finish under 2:10:00. It’s a strict goal, but not a totally unreasonable one, and I’ll really be happy if I’m under 2:20:00.

    I like to have a lot of goals percolating at once though, because I’m kind of finding that they positively influence one another. I’ve been training primarily to cover a long distance lately, no matter how slow, but somehow, along the way, my speed for short distances has improved DRAMATICALLY. So now I’m having fun playing with fast, shorter distances on my shorter run days.

  • Lin March 24, 2010, 2:57 pm

    What a great post! I hope you do great on your upcoming race!

  • Liz March 24, 2010, 2:59 pm

    I always have to make a training plan to set a goal – it’s really the only way for me to figure out if I can get ready in time for the race.

    My current race goals are to finish a sprint tri (June 28th) and a marathon (October 31st). My leg has a stress fracture so it was important for me to pick a goal that included no running for 2 months but was still attainable – so a sprint tri is ideal because a 5k run won’t be too much trouble.

    Do you have any goals for the century ride besides finishing?

    • Caitlin March 24, 2010, 3:24 pm

      not dying on hills 🙂

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner March 24, 2010, 2:59 pm

    This is a great post. I like the idea of setting two goal times. One being your ultimate goal (like a PR) and the other being a more realistic one that takes into effect the realities of the race and your conditions!

  • Maura @ Maura Me to Love March 24, 2010, 2:59 pm

    My current race goal is to finish the marathon I am running in June standing up and smiliing. I would even take standing up, alone 🙂 In reading your blog and others who are avid runners, sometimes I get stuck on the fact that I’m an 11 minute mile runner – but I realized, everyone is different! Whether its 7 minutes or 12 minutes, the point is my ass is hitting the pavement and making strides.

    P.S. Can I just say how much I love that eat so many carbs, as seen in these pics. I still hear people on the “carbs are bad” train, and it drives me a little batshit.

    • Caitlin March 24, 2010, 3:01 pm

      carbs are energy! we need carbs to survive. especially beer.

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 24, 2010, 2:59 pm

    I don’t really have a desire to run races. I run the distance I feel like running. Maybe I feel like running 4 miles, or maybe I feel like going for 13. Races kinda take the enjoyment out of it for me. I can run the distance myself and calculate my own time. There’s no way I’d win a race, so why bother? I just run on my own in a place that I find enjoyable.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet March 24, 2010, 2:59 pm

    I think these tips are great for setting goals in general. I don’t race, but I always set goals for working out – usually monthly or weekly.

  • Hallie March 24, 2010, 2:59 pm

    This was great! I’m running my first half-marathon in August and my only goal is to make it across the finish line in one piece! Well, the course has a 3-hour limit, so I guess you could say my goal is to run a sub-3 HR half 🙂 I’m (fairly) confident I can do that.

  • clay March 24, 2010, 3:02 pm

    I wanted to go sub 3:10 at my next marathon but now I am just aiming to beat my first time of 3:25 which i will do easily. My training was sidetracked so i made realistic goals exactly what you just did. It is the only way to keep my sanity and not be so let down! Nice job though and keep it up!

  • Megan @ Eat.Scrap.Run March 24, 2010, 3:03 pm

    My race goals are usually set on trying to beat my current PR for that race, but really I don’t get too set on race goals. I am just happy to be able to do the race, and if I happen to improve my time, then it’s even better.

    Well, unless my husband and I are both doing the same triathlon, then my goal is to always beat him 🙂 We are always very close in time so it makes it fun to have a little competition. He doesn’t train at all and just shows up for race day, and that makes us about equal in terms of time!

  • Joey March 24, 2010, 3:03 pm

    I’m running my first race (just a 5K) in a little over 3 weeks & my goals are 1) to run the whole time (no walk breaks) & 2) to finish in 35 minutes or less. Unfortunately I may have to do some adjusting of my own in between now & then!

  • Britt @ Runnerbelle March 24, 2010, 3:04 pm

    For goal races I usually set an A, B and C goal. I also recognize that you never know what race day will bring, even if your training went perfectly there is so much that can go wrong/right/everything in between.

    My current race goal is for the Boston Marathon
    A) PR – sub 3:27
    B) BQ again, 3:40 or under
    C) Finish

    In reality I know A is probably not going to happen. I just had surgery 2 months ago and it delayed my training. I am hoping for B, but in the end I’m happy with C too…it is still a marathon!

  • Jenny March 24, 2010, 3:05 pm

    I have baby race goals- like 5 miles, sounds weak next to yours!

  • Maggy March 24, 2010, 3:06 pm

    I’m running in the Warrior Dash! I’m so excited its just for fun and you have to do all sorts of obstacles (like climbing ropes, jumping over old cars, and crawling through mud) for about 3.5 miles. The family is all getting really into it and I think we’re going to wear some crazy costumes. You should try to find one in your area, it would be a fun running event for you to do and very out of the ordinary.

    • Caitlin March 24, 2010, 3:25 pm

      that sounds AWESOME.

      • katie March 24, 2010, 4:13 pm

        Ahhh! All of my girlfriends and I are doing the one in MD and CAN NOT WAIT! OMG.

  • Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story March 24, 2010, 3:10 pm

    I am running my first 10k in April and I’m just trying to finish in less than 67 minutes. I know I can run 6 miles in 63 minutes and I’ve done it while training, but I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment, so I am giving myself 67 minutes…plus there’s a monster bridge to cross in the race that will take more time. :/ My goal is to 1 up myself. Just do a little better than the time before but always keep in mind that just doing it is what really matters. I just enjoy it! 🙂

  • Nancy March 24, 2010, 3:10 pm

    When I first started running, my goal was to just show up at the race, or just finish, then it was to finish without walking. Now when I run a race I’ve done before I usually like to make a goal of doing at least what I did the time before, knowing that everyday I’m getting a little bit stronger. Yes, there are still the bad days that I seem to not be able to run even a mile without losing energy and wanting to walk. I just a PR for a 5mile run and now I’m training for my 2nd 1/2marathon. Realistic goals are the most important, healthy and rewarding!

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance....after a 100+ Pound weight loss!!! March 24, 2010, 3:10 pm

    GREAT TIPS, thank you! I am will start my 1st 15K training (same race you ran in last September with the “mad face”) and my goal is to just cross the finish line with a decent race pace. I love training & racing, but try not to get to upset if my goals are not met completely as at least I gave it my best and you can’t control everythign as you know.

  • Mary March 24, 2010, 3:12 pm

    I think that goal setting is an awesome thing to do. I know that I do the same thing. In fact I am modifying my half marathon goal for april to just match or beat my time of 2:20 that I ran this fall. again the furthest I’ve run is only about 8 miles. I find it so hard with rotating shifts and everything (i’m a nurse) that I cant always find the appropriate amount of time to fit in a long run unless I get up insanely early. good thing I only work 3 days a week! 🙂

  • katie March 24, 2010, 3:13 pm

    its so nice to see you properly refueling your body! So many bloggers dont do that after intense workouts and I think it really sends the wrong message. You are so inspiring!

    • Caitlin March 24, 2010, 3:27 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • Becky @ flybynyght March 24, 2010, 3:16 pm

    I did a half marathon 3 weeks ago and hurt my foot during the race. I had to walk a lot in the last 5 miles. This put me at 3:01:04 – so sad about it. But I was proud of myself and knew that I had another half scheduled (2.5 weeks from now) and I could get the between 2:30 and 2:45 that I was looking for then. Unfortunately the pain in my foot has not gone away. I’ve only run minimally (6 miles the furthest) in the last 3 weeks and have had to come to the realization that my goal will be to do my best and to have fun – whatever the time.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 24, 2010, 3:17 pm

    My current goal is to just recover from my injury, which currently entails sitting on my butt for 4-6 weeks and using crutches. But I can do it because I know that I’m going to come back stronger and wiser about running and training.

  • Bethany (@ NotUnlessI'mBeingChased) March 24, 2010, 3:18 pm

    It’s so funny you posted this today — I just had to have this little talk with myself last night!
    I’m a running newbie training for my first half marathon. When I started training my goal was simple: finish. I tell myself from time to time “you’re in it to FIN it, not WIN it”. Lately, as my strength and endurance are improving, so is my pace, and it’s sooooo tempting to try for unrealistic time goals. I get so down on myself when I don’t make them.
    I usually have to go back and tell myself, “look, that’s all well and good. You can run at that pace for the NEXT half marathon. Focus on your goal — finishing this one first.”

  • Megan March 24, 2010, 3:25 pm

    I’m not one to get down on myself if I miss a time goal. Maybe I haven’t done enough races though. For my upcoming triathlon I have two goals, to finish and to finish with a smile on my face. Yes, I believe setting time goals can yield major progress, but I think I need to get a few more races under my belt before I can set realistic, achievable goals.

  • Laura Smith March 24, 2010, 3:29 pm

    my goal right now for the marathon (in may..eek!!) is just to finish without injury 🙂

  • Lee March 24, 2010, 3:32 pm

    I have a tendency to want to make every race a PR and I know that just sets me up for disappointment. I just ran a half marathon on Sunday and instead of trying to PR, I decided to make my goal a course PR. The course was very hilly and I knew that my time would not be as good as my PR on a flat course. I’d run run it twice before, so I just tried to beat those times (which I did!)

    I’m also running some short races with beginning runner friends and have told them that I’ll run with them. I sometimes need to remind myself that you can run races for fun. You don’t have to race every race.

  • Carrie H March 24, 2010, 3:32 pm

    You said you know you have a 4:30 marathon in you. I know that isn’t the point of this post, but do you think you’ll ever try for one?

    BTW, I think it is awesome and amazing that you completed a full marathon. Mine first is in May and my goal is to beat the bust that picks people up at the six hour mark to drive them to the finish line, LOL.

    • Caitlin March 24, 2010, 3:41 pm

      naw i was really proud and happy with my 4:53 time and i wasn’t very crazy about the 26.2 miles of running. so.. probably not anytime in the near future.

  • Therese March 24, 2010, 3:32 pm

    I have an 8k coming up in two weeks and my second 10k at the beginning of May. My goal for my 8k is 55mins or less, which may be a bit challenging for me as the course is all hilly and although I’ve been training on hills over the last two months, I’m still only running about 58min 8ks. However, in the end, if I can just make it up the last 500m (which is all STRAIGHT UPHILL), I will be more than happy. I did the 5k of it last year and that final hill kicked my butt so my goal this year is to kick ITS butt!

    I remember my first 10k (which was just last August). I trained all summer in fairly decent weather (not too hot or humid). On race day it shot up to 100 degrees with full humidity and the 10k took place on Toronto ISLAND. Almost 2k was in full sun with no hope for shade. I immediately told myself that my only goal was to finish. I had to walk more of it than I would have liked but so were other runners more fit than I! In the end, although I’m scarred at doing August races for a while, I’m proud that I managed to get through it and my photos at the finish line? You’d never know I thought I was going to vomit…

  • KatieTX March 24, 2010, 3:35 pm

    I had this idea I could do my first tri in under an hour and a half. It was a sprint, but I did not expect to be so exhausted and dehyrated. I finished in an hour and fourty or so minutes and was just so glad it was over. I have a goal currently to run a sub 50 minute first one. We will see…

  • jewels March 24, 2010, 3:39 pm

    I saw u tweet today that your sweat was salty…I did 9 miles today also and my sweat was sooo salty. Do u know the cause or if its a problem?

    • Caitlin March 24, 2010, 3:42 pm

      yay 9 mile twins!!!

      i dont know! someone said its related to what we eat but i didnt think i had eaten anything super salty….?

      • Kristen March 24, 2010, 4:18 pm

        Sometimes it means you are dehydrated…although I am generally a very hydrated person and I often have really salty sweat.
        Well done with the hot 9 miler!

  • jen March 24, 2010, 3:41 pm

    Its like you read my mind. Thank you so much for the goal setting tips. I really needed it today.
    I’m running a half on April 3 and it will be my last race for awhile (need to cut down on mileage and intensity to hopefully get pregnant!) So I REALLY want to PR and break 1:50 but its such a hilly course and my existing PR was set in perfect weather on a flat course. You reminded me that trying my best on that day is good enough for victory. Thanks 🙂

  • Emily Eats and Exercises March 24, 2010, 3:42 pm

    I’m still a very new runner so thus far every race I do is way faster than the one before. I can see that I’m going to hit the point soon where that’s not possible and I admit it’s stressing me out. I’m doing my first half marathon in a few months and I’m trying hard just to have a goal of finishing and not worry about my time. Sometimes that’s hard to remember!

  • Kate March 24, 2010, 3:46 pm

    Im a huge fan of setting goals (though Im getting better at having realistic ones!). Its a great way to keep you motivated & on track.

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat March 24, 2010, 3:46 pm

    This post came at the right time for me! I am training for a half marathon in April, which I have not done in two years (I walked one last year). My training has been pretty good but I just have a feeling that beating my time from two years ago is too lofty a goal (2:12).

    So I think I’m just going to finish the race, whether it’s running or run/walking, and leave it up to how I feel, the conditions on race day, etc. Thanks for sharing!

  • anne March 24, 2010, 3:48 pm

    this is a great post! i’ve only recently begun racing, and still struggle with even figuring out what a reasonable goal would be for me. even running the distances that i am is a huge achievement, so i am not too concerned with time, honestly. that said, i ran a 7k race last weekend and at the last minute set a 40 minute goal for myself–i ran it in 39:30 and think i really pushed myself harder with that goal that i would have otherwise. and i felt great about it!

  • Jessica March 24, 2010, 3:54 pm

    You inspire me to set goals. Right now my goal is to finish my masters thesis…HA. not really running related but its my goal…
    Its due to be bound and copyrighted this friday!!! NERVOUS…
    so I was sitting here debating on dinner and realized i have gone three full days without meat…
    I think you are rubbing off on me ….haha…

    • Caitlin March 24, 2010, 3:56 pm

      yay vegetarians!

  • Juli D. March 24, 2010, 4:00 pm

    I pretty much just want to PR every race. 🙂 I agree you have to set goals based on YOU and nobody else. This year I’m aiming for a sub-21 minutes 5k (impoving by 19 seconds) and next year I want to do sub-20. Also racing a 25K for the second time, and want to do better than last time (2:05) and *extra special goal* hit under 2 hours.

  • Runeatrepeat March 24, 2010, 4:00 pm

    I make absolutely ridiculous race goals, but don’t tell anyone else. It’s a bad tactic, but I’m bad to the bone.

  • Cristal March 24, 2010, 4:00 pm

    Hi Caitlyn,

    I am training right now to run my first 6K. I run around my neighborhood which is SUPER hilly. Can you suggest some good stretches? Thank you!

    • Cristal March 24, 2010, 4:01 pm

      * Caitlin Sorry I should know better everyone messes up my name!

      • Caitlin March 24, 2010, 4:05 pm

        its ok 🙂 i hardly ever stretch (bad) but I do like downward dog and i know has tons of stretches.

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething March 24, 2010, 4:09 pm

    oh i loike this post! i make race goals if like you i have been doing the right training….if not i race to just push myself a bit more that day and to enjoy the event 🙂

  • Samantha March 24, 2010, 4:10 pm

    I had trouble setting goals for races too when I was still doing them. I took almost a year off from running and am finally back into ti for FUN and FITNESS. My first race in over a year will be in a few weeks, a 10 woman relay, which everyone is of different ability levels and it’s all about fun and camaraderie! Gone are my competitive days. I hope. 😉

    You continue to inspire with every single post. Despite being several years your senior, I learn a lot from you.

    You’ll easily do a 4:30 marathon. The first one is always “testing ground” and much of it is mental. Well, much of any run is mental, but once you have a 26.2 under your belt and know what to expect, the marathon monster isn’t quite as scary and you can do your thing more easily. Good luck with all your upcoming events!

  • Vaala March 24, 2010, 4:15 pm

    I often have goals for orienteering races like finding the first control cleanly and things like that…it helps remind me not to run out of the start box like a crazy person and get myself disoriented before I’ve even reached the first control. I have an offroad half marathon this weekend and I did have a big goal for it but have had to scale it back ’cause I ended up doing an adventure race last weekend and also getting a cold. You have to be realistic to keep your belief in yourself positive.

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs March 24, 2010, 4:19 pm

    They are some really useful tips there. I’m guilty of setting my standards way too high sometimes,so it’s good to hear them. My current goal is to complete my first marathon! I’m hopinh sub 4hr 30, which should be do-able given my current running stats 🙂

  • Hangry Pants March 24, 2010, 4:24 pm

    When I was thinking about running another half I really wanted to do it to beat my time, but for some reason I wouldn’t register. Then I let go of the time thing and it became much, much easier to register. No need to put more pressure on myself – I’m the only person who cares how fast I was.

  • Matt March 24, 2010, 4:36 pm

    My goal right now is a 50k!

    If you ran 9 miles in 1:25 in the HEAT, you will crush your goal time easily!

    • Jennifer March 24, 2010, 4:40 pm

      I agree, Matt–I think you are selling yourself short, Caitlin! You may want to eye that 1:21PR 😛

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly March 24, 2010, 4:42 pm

    I love how you just roll with it…amazing!

  • Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama March 24, 2010, 4:45 pm

    My first race, a half marathon, is in a few weeks. I have yet to set a time goal as I really have no idea what it is going to be like. I DO plan on just having fun =)

  • sirenjess March 24, 2010, 4:54 pm

    I have a secret goal that I’m not sharing with anyone…I’m running Boston in a month I have a goal set but not telling. I’m sort of freaking out…I’ve been warned about the second half of the course. I do set goals for myself, but if I find that before the race something comes up (something always does) I make the change. I’ve got a half marathon this weekend and I’m on the fence about setting a goal. I really want to improve my PR for my half but if that day my body isn’t feeling it I might just make it a long run. Good luck on crushing your time. You can do it!!!!!

  • Lisa March 24, 2010, 4:55 pm

    I did an 8k recently and my ONLY goal was to finish it without having to walk. I’d never done an 8k and when I was practicing for it, I still had to walk some of it. So I was pretty happy when I finished the 8k in 53 minutes WITHOUT WALKING! 🙂

  • Carrie H March 24, 2010, 5:03 pm

    p.s. I wish I was planning a hot run! It’s still 25* where I live and I’m doing five miles after work. Five cold miles, that is! 😉

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) March 24, 2010, 5:07 pm

    I like to set goals – but like you – believe they should be realistic! Beating a previous time (taking into account all the factors of course….) is a great way to approach things.

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg March 24, 2010, 5:12 pm

    Setting goals can be so hard…I have a tendency to be really hard on myself and to get down when I see people who are better than me at something. It’s so important to focus on what YOUR goal is for yourself, not whether or not you can beat/be better than some other person.

  • Sammi March 24, 2010, 5:17 pm

    I was going to do the Iron Girl but I’m not ready for a 15k and I don’t want to do a 5k.. so I’m doing a race the next day that is a 10k 🙂 I’d like to do it in exactly an hour but who knows? I have stomach issues and waking up early is a trigger so I try to not have high expectations!

  • Laura March 24, 2010, 5:23 pm

    Posts like these are the reason why you are such an inspiration to so many, why you got a book deal, have such a large following, and why I check back to your blog every day! Thank you! Having a serious inferiority complex- mostly about my sister, who runs a zillion times faster and longer, and has been consistently an A* student/career woman- its so nice to hear that someone so successful- in life and work and well balanced sometimes feels this way too! I’m still working on making my expectations of myself a little more realistic, and to not do the classic ‘say yes to everything’. Maybe I’m not the fastest, but we are all unique and its the journey and how you feel that matters not the end result right? And don’t forget HOW MUCH you have raised for charities through all your methods- 4.30 marathon or not! Sorry for running on (haha)….

    • Caitlin March 24, 2010, 5:32 pm

      thank you:) i appreciate that.

  • Kate March 24, 2010, 5:23 pm

    I’m sure–I’m very bad at goals (either I set them too hard and fail, or I set goals too easy.)

    I’ve set my first race goal–to run a marathon in Jan 2012. I know next year if I’m not ready I can change my goal to running a half marathon at that time.

    Right now I’m setting teensy little goals that will help me with my big goal. First goal will be to run 30 seconds, then a minute, then a mile, then a 5K, then a 10K, etc.

    And I’m trying not to think about the big goal too much–sometimes the thought of running a marathon is very overwhelming!

  • Laura March 24, 2010, 5:25 pm

    And… if you set a little bit of a longer time to aim for- you get to be stoked if/when you smash it!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) March 24, 2010, 5:38 pm

    I try to base my race goals on what I think my body can handle. I’ve had some major injuries in my past so my goals are a lot slower than most.

    My current goal is to finish my 10K in under 1:30.

  • Julie @SavvyEats March 24, 2010, 6:01 pm

    I was going to sign up for a half marathon as soon as I recovered from my injury, but don’t know how much I want to focus on running right now. We’ll see!

    This isn’t a racing goal, but I am working towards being able to complete the MS 150 (150 miles over the course of 2 days) at the end of July… if I can finish that strong, I will feel ready and confident for Italy!

  • Heather ( March 24, 2010, 6:01 pm

    living in hot Mississippi I definately have to adjust my race goals on race day due to weather. it gets SO HOT and humid here, it really makes a huge difference on race day!

  • Wendy March 24, 2010, 6:16 pm

    Those are really great goal-setting tips. I’m running two half marathons this spring, and hope to either beat my PR (2:07) or, if I’m having a really great day, finish in under 2 hours!

    I am really bad about comparing myself to others. But when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter, as long as I’ve done MY best on THAT day, as you said!

  • John March 24, 2010, 6:32 pm

    I set my goals pretty much the same way. I usually have 3 goals going into the race- A-an amazing time, B-realistic great time and C-lowest expected time and /or finish.

  • Kait March 24, 2010, 6:42 pm

    That is all awesome advice..its so true training and day of conditions can really affect times. I just go in wanting to finish strong and feel good at the end.

  • TorontoGirloutWest March 24, 2010, 6:58 pm

    I have a very modest goal right now. I have only run one race in my life – a 10k almost two years ago. I want to do another short distance race (12K or under) in the next few months. And then a half in September.

    My goal for both? Finish. Without walking. And injury free. 😉

  • Lauren @ A Fit Foodie March 24, 2010, 7:37 pm

    My current race goal is to run and FINISH the Derby Marathon here in Louisville. It’ll be my first marathon and I just want to finish but I’d love for the icing on the cake to run it under 5 hours or even 4:30!

  • Becky March 24, 2010, 7:55 pm

    I tend to get a little overzealous with goal setting, so I need to constantly remind myself to step back. I am training for my first half and I love it. Luckily, I have training partners to keep me in check and having a good time without overdoing it.

  • Shannon, Tropical Eats March 24, 2010, 8:29 pm

    i love those black bean burgers! Whenever I run, I usually set a distance limit.. not a time limit. No matter how long it takes me, I just keep telling myself that i WILL make it to the finish line.

  • Samantha March 24, 2010, 8:31 pm

    Great post! My race goals are to finish my first half marathon and finish around 8-8:15 min pace and get my 5k down in the 21’s or even 20’s. Really want to be in the 19’s by the end of summer.

  • Sophie @ yumventures March 24, 2010, 9:41 pm

    I think about this not only for big events, but every day at the gym. I have a general schedule I like to go by, but every day I have to say to myself “how am I feeling? Am I feeling strong? What kind of work out do I want to do?” It really helps me not push myself too much some days, and push myself even harder than planned on others.

  • April March 24, 2010, 10:25 pm

    Wow, it’s so fun to see everyone’s goals. I thought this post was really great too. I think it’s such a bummer when I’m disappointed because I have set an unrealistic goal.
    My short term goal is to break 1:55 in a half in June; longer range is to PR in the Chicago Marathon and *hopefully* break 4:00…it will be a challenge and I definitely plan to continue to reevaluate my goal to make sure it’s realistic as I get further into my training season.
    Most of my friends are faster than me too – I agree with your point that you have to set goals for yourself and try not to compare your accomplishments to those of others – we’re all different and that’s what makes the world great!

  • Dee March 24, 2010, 11:11 pm

    Love this post! I am a total penguin but slowly getting faster (wait does this even make sense?) and I have to constantly remind myself to run my own race. Thanks for this – needed to hear it!

  • Jolene ( March 24, 2010, 11:17 pm

    My current race goal is to be able to run a 5k. I can barely run 3 minutes straight right now. I have a 5k scheduled for May 30th. I am doing the C25K program, and am on week 3.

  • Judy March 25, 2010, 5:19 am

    Well, I’m registered for my very first 5k in a couple of months. My only goal right now is to run the entire race! Considering I just took up running at about the age of 47 (and I’m really slow, like it’ll probably take me 45 minutes), I think it’s a good goal — and achieveable.

    While I would secretly love to run it in less than 40 minutes, probably not reasonable for me. We’ll see what the adrenaline does.

  • Michele March 25, 2010, 10:51 am

    Hi Caitlin, this does not relate to your posts but, at work today, well actually a few minutes ago, I noticed a operation beautiful note in the school hallway and my student was writing sticky notes to put up in the bathroom! A whole english class is really getting involved with spreading the idea at our school in NoVa. The girls were so excited about it! So I thought I would share the impact operation beautiful is having!

    • Caitlin March 25, 2010, 10:53 am

      HOW AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! Can you get any pictures???

  • Susan March 25, 2010, 11:07 am

    This is a wonderful post!! I live in a city full of fast runners and I ALWAYS place in the bottom 10, regardless of participants. I mean, I run at a 10:00 pace, which in my mind is pretty average. And that’s all that matters. I can’t tell you the exact times of any of my races, but I CAN tell you how awesome it felt crossing the finish line 🙂

  • Isha March 28, 2010, 1:15 pm

    I know I’m a few days late on it, but this post is perfect timing. I’m running a 5k in a few weeks and I’ve been a little lax recently in my training. This really helps me think through what kind of goals I’m looking for. Thanks. 🙂

    • Caitlin March 28, 2010, 2:40 pm

      good luck on your 5k!

  • Jes Suazo February 18, 2012, 8:56 pm

    This was definitely a good read for me today! I set a time goal for my first 10k & didn’t beat it.

    Instead of being proud of myself, I have only been angry at what “I could have changed.” I will definitely take your comments to heart.

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