In any race you run as a distance or mid-distance runner, you’ll take 100’s if not 1000’s of steps to reach the finish line. You’ll most likely take 1000’s more than that just training for that race before you even step up to the starting line. Before you take that first step in training or that first step in your race, however, there are a few other steps that might be worth considering.

STEP 1: Get Some Clarity

Clarify your purpose.

What is the WHY behind everything you do?

When we know this in life or design

it is empowering and the path is clear.”

[TAKE AWAY: Knowing WHY we do WHAT we do empowers HOW we do it.]


STEP 2: Get Focused

“Every day focus on your purpose.

Remember WHY you do what you do.

We don’t get burned out because of what we do.

We get burned out because we forget why we do it.”

[TAKE AWAY: Identifying our purpose is a start that is only sustained by continual and intentional efforts to remember and remain focused on it as we move forward from that moment of clarity.]



STEP 3: Get Goaling

Purpose of goals

You’d never start off on a long journey to a new destination without any idea where you were headed. If you don’t know where you’re trying to go, how will you ever know if/when you get there? A goal you set for yourself, if effectively written and implemented, can be a big help in getting you to where you want to go because they:

  1. focus you on where you’re aiming to go
  2. provided structure, meaning and motivation for workouts and training
  3. help determine what you need to do to get from where/who you are to where/who you want to be
  4. provide a standard by which success can be measured

Types of goals

Not all goals are created equal so it’s important to decide what type of goal suits you best. In general goals can be broken down along these lines:


  1. Long range = season/year/career long
  2. Mid-range = based on training phase (4-6 weeks)
  3. Short range = week/day/within workout/specific race


  1. Outcome based = qualifying for/winning State, winning/placing in a race… The most popular type of goal but least motivating in the long run because they are the ones you have the least control of.
  2. Performance based = run a sub 20:00 5k, run a sub 5:00 mile… More motivating since you control this, but they only show you where you want to end up, not how to get there.
  3. Process based = run 45 miles/week, run 500 miles over summer, train at a certain pace… The least used, but most effective because you have complete control over them and they are more tied to everyday, short term goals.

Smart: Whenever writing a goal the acronym “SMARTER” is always helpful to keep in mind:

  1. S = Specific –
  2. M = Measurable – Allows you to chart progress along the way and if you have arrived
  3. A = Adjustable – Injury or illness can derail a goal + the end of one goal is the start of the next
  4. R = Realistic – Unrealistic goals have no power to motivate action.
  5. T = Time Based – When will it be completed?
  6. E = Exciting – It must be something YOU are excited to pursue.
  7. R = Recorded – Like your purpose statement, write it down, post it and reflect on it often.