The Newbie Runner Diaries: Setting the Goal Time

A wise man once said, "I've found that if you have a goal, that you might not reach it, but if you don't have one, then you are never disappointed."

That wise man is Vince Vaughn, and he humored us with that quote in the movie Dodgeball. Take a moment and watch this 15-second clip for a good laugh.

Now, Vaughn isn't exactly a philosophical speaker—especially not in a scripted movie—and this pessimistic advice isn't the best to follow. When it comes to setting a goal time for my upcoming half marathon, though, he might actually be on to something.

Competitiveness

Competitiveness can be a great trait to possess. It can also be detrimental.

As a competitive person, I've experienced both ends of the spectrum. My eagerness to compete in everything I do helped me excel in my high school and collegiate athletic career, as well as in the classroom.

On the other hand, it makes it difficult to enjoy recreational activities without taking things too seriously. This is what happened when I started running.

More: How Competitive Are You?

Setting the Goal Time

When I started training for my half marathon, my original goal was to finish in under 2:00:00.

This mindset changed when I started increasing my mileage and running at a faster pace than I thought possible. I also started noticing race results of some of my friends on social networks, and it influenced me to set the bar higher.

"Maybe I can run it in under 1:50:00?" I thought to myself.

It seemed reasonable, as I was progressing each week. That is, until I had my first "bad" run.

I was on a 7-mile run, and was hoping to finish with an average pace of around 8:40 per mile. With my mileage-tracking smartphone app giving me updates on my pace, I became extremely disappointed when I found out I was running at a pace of 9:00 per mile halfway through my run. I was so mentally defeated that I almost wanted to stop.

I didn't stop, thankfully, but I finished at a much slower time than I had hoped for. This was the eye-opener I needed. I realized it was time to tone down the competitiveness.

More: 5 Lessons Learned From a Bad Run

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About the Author

Hunter Hewitt

Hunter Hewitt is an online content editor for Active.com. As a former collegiate athlete, Hunter has always been passionate about living an active, healthy lifestyle. He enjoys running, basketball, ultimate frisbee and many other outdoor sports and activities. Follow Hunter on Twitter @HunterHewitt

Hunter Hewitt is an online content editor for Active.com. As a former collegiate athlete, Hunter has always been passionate about living an active, healthy lifestyle. He enjoys running, basketball, ultimate frisbee and many other outdoor sports and activities. Follow Hunter on Twitter @HunterHewitt

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