top of page

How to Set and Achieve Running Goals

When I first started running, I had the vision of running a marathon but, I set the wrong goal. Let’s take a look at how to set goals correctly.

  1. Break up the goal into achievable milestones

  2. Set the time frame to achieve each milestone

  3. Create a training plan

  4. Track your progress

  5. Adjust your plan

If you are like most people, you probably find it challenging to stay motivated and achieve your running goals. Most people set goals for themselves but, miss out the most important step.

Whether you are a seasoned runner or just starting out, let’s take a look at a step-by-step process on how to set and achieve your running goals.

Benefits of setting running goals

Before we start creating your running goal, it is important to understand why you should set goals. There are many reasons why you may want to set a running goal. Some benefits include:

  • Improved motivation

  • Increased accountability

  • Enhanced focus and direction

  • Greater sense of achievement

Improved motivation

When you set a running goal, it gives you something to work towards. This can boost your motivation and help you stick to a regular running routine. When you see progress towards your goal, you will feel more motivated to continue pushing yourself.

Increased accountability

Setting running goals, will increase your accountability, as you will feel more inclined to follow through with your running plan in order to achieve your goal.

Enhanced focus and direction

Having a clear running goal helps you stay focused on what you want to achieve. This can help you structure your training plan and make more efficient use of your time. Additionally, having a specific goal in mind can help you avoid distractions and keep you on track towards achieving your goal.

Greater sense of achievement

Setting and achieving running goals can give you a big sense of accomplishment. This can help boost your self-confidence, self-esteem and inspire you to set and achieve even more goals in the future.

Types of running goals

Now we have gone over the importance of setting goals, let's set your main goal. There are many types of running goals you can set for yourself, some include:

  • Distance goals: 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon.

  • Time goals: Running a 5K under 30 minutes, 10K under 1 Hour, marathon under 5 hours.

  • Frequency goals: Running three times a week.

Understand your starting point

Now you know what goal you want to achieve. You need to assess your starting point. For example, if you have a goal of running 5k in under 30 minuets, you could measure the distance you can currently run in 30 minuets at a comfortable pace.

Creating the plan

Once you know your starting point it is time to create the plan.

Step 1 - Break up the goal

You should start by breaking your goal up into small achievable milestones. So many people miss this important step out.

For example – If you want to run 5k in 30 minutes or less you could split your goal up into 1k milestones.




Milestone 1

Run 1k in under 30 minuets

I can do this

Milestone 2

Run 2k in under 30 minuets

I can do this

Milestone 3

Run 3k in under 30 minuets

I can do this

Milestone 4

Run 4k in under 30 minuets

Milestone 5

​Run 5k in under 30 minuets

Step 2 – Set the time frame

Now you have your goal split up into smaller milestones, you should set realistic time frame for yourself to achieve each of the milestones.

For example – If your goal is to run 5k in 30 minutes and you split this goal into 1k milestones. Your timeframe may be to achieve one milestone each 3rd week





Milestone 1 - week 3

Run 1k in under 30 minuets

I can do this

​Milestone 2 – week 6

Run 2k in under 30 minuets

I can do this

Milestone 3 – week 9

Run 3k in under 30 minuets

I can do this

Milestone 4 – week 12

Run 4k in under 30 minuets

Milestone 5 – week 15

Run 5k in under 30 minuets

Step 3 - Create a training plan

Once you have broken up your goal and set a timeframe, it is time to create a training plan.

Your plan should include a combination of running workouts, strength training, and recovery days. Make sure to gradually increase the intensity of your workouts over time and listen to your body to avoid injury.


  • Run 3 days a week

  • Have a rest day in between each running day

  • Lift weights on Friday

Step 4 - Track your progress

As you work towards your running goal, it is important to track your progress along the way. This can help you stay motivated and adjust your training plan as needed. Consider using a running app or journal to track your distance, time, and other metrics. Celebrate your progress along the way, and use setbacks as opportunities to learn and adjust your plan.

Step 5 – Adjust your plan

Your plan may need to be adjusted in case you have created a plan you cannot keep up with, an injury occurred, or you have achieved your goal faster than you thought. Not everything goas to plan. You should reassess and adjust your plan as needed periodically to ensure you get the most out of your training and continue to make progress.

Common mistakes to avoid

There are some common mistakes people make when setting and achieving running goals. These include:

  • Setting unrealistic goals that are too challenging or too easy.

  • Focusing too much on results and not enough on the process.

  • Not staying consistent with your training and not giving yourself enough time to make progress.

  • Not taking rest and recovery days seriously, which can lead to injury or burnout.


Setting and achieving running goals can be challenging, but it's also incredibly rewarding. By following the steps, you can set effective goals, stay motivated, track your progress, and celebrate your successes along the way. Remember to stay flexible, focus on what matters most to you, and enjoy the process.

bottom of page