Here’s How to Set SMART Running Goals (With helpful tips!)

How to Set SMART Running Goals
Here’s How to Set SMART Running Goals –

Why and how to set SMART running goals? Setting SMART running goals make your training more effective. It will provide you with a sense of direction and progress, as well as a sense of accomplishment and pride. 

Maybe for 2021, you have decided to run more, lose weight, exercise more, and live a healthy and happy life. Learning to set SMART Goals will help you reach your health and fitness goals. Research has shown that your performance is directly linked to the goals you have achieved and the goals you are aspiring to.

It also helps to boost your running performance. You will discover that your motivation and enjoyment rise as you achieve your goals. 

Read on to discover how to set SMART running goals and make 2021 the best year for you, your family, and your friends.

If you are looking for ideas to enjoy running, I wrote a whole article sharing the 12 Best Tips On How To Love Running

How to Set and Accomplish your SMART Running Goals?

S.M.A.R.T’s goal-setting system is one of the most powerful tools to help you accomplish running goals. It has been widely used by trainers, business leaders, and teachers. 

Applying the S.M.A.R.T’s goal-setting system will help you define and reach your top performance targets. Wendy Osefo, a professor at John Hopkins University, explained that setting goals helps you stay on track and motivated through every step of your journey.

The SMART method helps to set and achieve:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Attainable
  4. Relevant
  5. Time-bound running goals. 

Each element of a SMART system plays an essential role in the process of accomplishing your running goals.

  • Specific – Every achievement begins with clarity. Whatever you want to achieve, be very specific with your running goals. One of the reasons people fail to achieve their goals is that they express them very vaguely. For instance, you might say you want to run faster; however, this is a broad and unspecific goal. 

A specific goal will be “I want to improve my running time by five minutes.” Or if you hope to be in shape with running, you might set a particular objective to lose ten pounds within three months by running 4–5 days per week.

My running goal for 2023 is to run at least 932.1 miles or 1500 km. I plan to run 62.2 miles (100 km) per month to accomplish this. I usually run three times per week. Being specific with my goals will help me stay motivated.

A specific goal motivates you to stay focused because you know which steps you need to take to accomplish it. As you get closer to your objectives, you get excited and inspired by your progress, so you will work even harder to get the result you always wanted.

  • Measurable – break your goals down into steps required to get you closer to their achievement – steps you can measure. For example, running or exercising more is not a measurable goal, but running twice per week or walking four times a week for 20 minutes is measurable. As a result, you can check and measure your progress.

The crucial thing is to break your goals into easy, manageable steps, stay focused to accomplish one at a time and then move to the next level.

For instance, if your goal is running to lose weight, you might choose to weigh yourself on a bodyweight scale once each week to see how you are doing.

  • Achievable – Reaching your goal will require honesty with yourself. Accomplishing your running goals will require you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You would have to do things you have never done before to achieve what you have never had. Achieving your running goals will require discipline in going to the gym or running outside, even when you do not feel like going.

How do you figure out if your running goals are attainable? Review your previous running achievements or talk to a running coach or a running buddy to help and give you feedback and guidance.

  • Relevant – Your running goals must be meaningful to you; you must have a strong reason to do it. Ask yourself – what is your “WHY” for accomplishing your running goals: why do you want to achieve your running goals? 

For example, why do you want to lose weight or run faster? Maybe you want to run 5k and play with your grandkids? Perhaps you want to wear your favorite bikini this summer; whatever it is, it must be relevant enough to keep you motivated to keep going. 

People fail at accomplishing their goals simply because they pursue goals that society or someone else sets for them. Decide on your own goals, and you will have enough drive and passion to pursue them. Any goals you set must be yours.

  • Time-Sensitive – You must have a deadline or timeframe to accomplish your running goals. You must set a time limit because setting deadlines will push you to move from planning to training and to achieving your running goals. 

For example, if you say, “I want to run a 5k run”, but you haven’t registered for a specific race, then there’s no sense of urgency for your goal. But if you choose a particular running race and say you want to run a 5k race on that specific date, then you can plan out a specific week-by-week program to reach that goal. 

There is something called Parkinson’s Law that states that any amount of goals or work tends to expand to fill the time allotted for its completion. It is sometimes better to set very tight deadlines and discipline yourself to accomplish them.

Setting a deadline will keep you inspired and prevent you from skipping training.

To increase the likelihood of accomplishing your running goals, take time to consider each of the steps listed above. 

Setting and achieving your running goals can be very overwhelming, but following and applying a SMART goal method can be a good start. It will help you successfully outline and accomplish any goals you might have in any areas of your life: Running goals, Finance goals, health goals, and fitness goals. 

How to Set and Achieve your Running Goals the S.M.A.R.T. Way?  Check out this video to help you get started.
Setting Goals the S.M.A.R.T. Way – Adidas Runtastic

How to Set SMART Running Goals With Smart Goals Examples for Running?

  • Register to run a race: Start today by entering a race; it can be 5k or 10k. Your ultimate goal should be to complete a race or marathon. For instance, you might say, “I want to complete the Toronto Island 5k race in September”. You will notice that it includes all the components of SMART goal setting. Thus, it will increase your chances of completing your race and enjoying the process of training for your run.  
  • Get back in shape or lose weight through Running: Start by being specific on “why” you are running. Running to lose weight can be a great source of motivation. For instance, you want to be able to play with your kids or grandkids or want to enjoy life during summer. 
    • Also, be specific about how much weight you want to lose. For instance, I want to lose 10 pounds (16 kg) in 6 months. 
  • Measure your progress to see how you are doing and adjust if you need to. Once you know your reason for running, decide the steps you should take to accomplish running goals— Are you looking for motivation to get started?
  • Time-bond your running goals; it will help keep you motivated and keep going even If you do not feel like it. 
  • Run to Support a Charity: Join something bigger than yourself by supporting your community or a charity. Running to support a charity will motivate you and give you a sense of pride and accomplishment by raising money for the less fortunate.
    • Running for a charity will help you reach your fitness and health goals and support your contribution goals. Remember, “The secret to living is giving.”
    • You can search for a local charity or start one to show your passion for contributing to making the world a better place. You can also check here for an idea of running-related charities that need your help.
  • Running for Personal Growth: Your running goals can also be to challenge yourself and reach your personal best. Regardless of your level of competitiveness, you might set running goals to improve your time, your distance or train for a marathon. 
  • Adopting running as a lifestyle: Most people want to be able to run regularly. Your running goal might be to be able to run consistently. For instance, you might decide to run three times per week. Charles Duhigg, in The Power of Habit‘s author, observes that when you make your running a habit, it will feel more comfortable and effortless.
    • Decide to go running at the same time of the day, and play the same type of music.
    • Intrinsic reward helps make exercise a habit; research has shown. Also, consistent cues create neural pathways that support and create a running routine and a habit.

Use the SMART goal method to plan, train, and measure your progress. Observing your progress will be a beneficial source of motivation. Personal growth is one of the keys to happiness because when you are growing, you will feel alive.

Also, see 10 Benefits of Running – What Does Running Do to Your Body – Science Backed.

How to Set SMART Running Goals
Young Couple Running –

Wrapping Up

Decide today, no matter what time of year it is, and do not wait until January to start. Use the SMART goal method to reach your short-term and long-term running goals and live a better, healthier, and happier life.

Learning to set SMART running goals is an excellent practice to re-evaluate your running goals throughout the year to keep growing as a beginner or seasoned runner and as a human being.


Hello friends, I am Altiné I am SO excited you are here! I believe in YOUR POWER to transform the world through a healthy lifestyle and diet, and that physical activity and diet are EVERYTHING when it comes to your health and well-being. My goal is to offer you a simple and science-based approach to building muscle, losing fat, getting happy and healthy, and living a meaningful and impactful life for you and your loved ones. So YOU can look better, feel better, live better, and go make more impact. Let’s do it.

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