Goal setting for new runners

By Coach Hiruni Wijayaratne with RunCoach, the online training service offered at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.


Training starts here. Get a FREE training plan for your first 5K, 10, half marathon, or marathon from RunCoach when you register for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2021! Register now!


As with any new adventure, when you are starting off, it can seem daunting to set a goal. To take some of that stress off, we’ve asked our coaches for their top tips. A goal, no matter the caliber, is critical to keep you focused. A goal should be ambitious, but not so wild that it will take you an exceedingly long time to reach it. As a beginner, you will see various levels of successes rather quickly. Use this to your advantage and set several personally relevant goals.

1. Exercise regularly, run consistently

This can be simply to run/ walk/ move your body and sweat 2 – 3 times per week, for a month. Building a routine is the first step toward meaningful change in your life. Your body adapts the more times you teach it to do a skill. Continually running/ walking will improve the response within your body

2. Run a specific distance

Be it one kilometre, mile or 5K to marathon, set a distance that you can be proud of completing. Time or pace is not relevant at this point. This is a personal record of the farthest distance you can cover in one go.

3. Run non-stop

Set yourself a goal to run on-stop over a realistic distance. At first, you can even make it a goal to run around your neighbourhood without stopping, then move up to a loop around your local park.

4. Select a race

Live events are a rare luxury for now, but you can still register to support a race organization or charity which is meaningful to you. Most virtual races, like Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, will send you a finisher medal, and other awesome swag. These are treats to reward you for reaching the goal. 

5. Weight loss

Lots of people start running to lose weight. Just like setting your eyes to run a certain distance, you should set a weight loss goal for each week and each month. Experts recommend 1-2kg (2-5 lbs) as a safe weekly weight loss goal.


Related: Revisit goal-setting during the pandemic.