And that was exactly how I ran last year's 10k, my first attempt at the distance. I was coming off two injuries - a hamstring strain and a busted up knee (hello faceplant on Lake Drive!) - and didn't want to set the bar too high. So instead, I didn't really set the bar at all. I had a weak time goal in mind but no plan for the race. I happened to get lucky with a decent time and top 10 finish, but I will always wonder if I could have run faster had I gone in with a better plan.
With Mom after last year's 10k
I recently read the most interesting article about setting race goals. Unfortunately, I can't remember the source - I read way too much about running - but the basic premise was that at every race, runners should set three goals: one that's completely within their control, one that's somewhat within their control, and one that is not really within their control. The reasoning being that runners should first focus on the goal that's completely within their control - and if they are successful with that one, there's a better chance of attaining the second and third goals.
I really like this approach and will be using it for this weekend's 10k race. My three goals are:
1. Run my best effort at every moment of the race. It goes back to my all-time favorite mantra, Pay the Price. Pay the price during training and throughout the race or pay the price at the end of the race with a bad time/missed goal.
When a race gets tough, ask if you can give a little more.
The answer is almost always yes!
2. Run a 44:XX time - As long as I can execute on the first goal, I should be able to hit the second goal. At least according to the plan from Coach Matt!
3. Place within the top 5 women - Obviously this goal is pretty dependent on other runners. I could run my very best and still miss this goal depending on who's racing on Saturday and how they end up running. But based on past results, I like my chances ;)
All that's left to do til Saturday are a few easy runs, eating right and getting plenty of sleep. It's time to put that winter and spring training to the test!
I'd like to know ... How do you determine your race goal(s)?