How to set realistic goals that won’t disappoint you in 2023

The holiday season is arriving, and there’s no better time to focus on creating excellent running goals for 2023. However, there’s one significant problem: around 80% of people quit their New Year’s goals by February, leaving millions disappointed, frustrated, and unhealthy. 

Nevertheless, you don’t need to be part of that 80%; you can set running goals that create incredible fitness, boost your mental health, and leave yourself genuinely proud.

Here are some crucial goal-setting tips for 2023:

1. Build goals into your schedule 

Do you have a tight schedule? You certainly aren’t alone. One of the main reasons why people abandon their running goals is time management. When you have a career, a business, a study schedule, or are raising a young family, it’s easy to quit your running goals and focus on other things. We understand that; life happens and it’s normal for many people. 

However, you can overcome that by building your running goals into your schedule. Create a strategy where you set aside time to focus on your running goals. Once you have a weekly or daily plan, your goals become far easier. 

Pro tip: This may require saying “no” to some other activities you regularly enjoy. Change is hard!

2. Start slow and build up 

So you want to start the year with a bang? Upping your running mileage in 2023 is an excellent idea, but you should always start slow and gradually increase your miles. Stick to the 10% rule, where you don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% over the previous week. 

If you’re fairly active already and you walked or ran a total of 10km in your first week (2km per day), don’t do more than a total of 11km the following week (10km * 1.1 = 11km). 

Some runners watch their running goals fly into the abyss because they try to do too much at once, become injured, and wind up overtraining, which is the cause of most running injuries. 

You can prevent overtraining by creating an efficient training schedule for 2023, following a plan, or working with a coach. Furthermore, wear excellent running shoes, stretch, and apply zone training as you increase your weekly mileage. 

RELATED: Rekindle your romance with running.

3. Be realistic 

Setting realistic goals is key to successful goal setting in 2023. 

You might watch inspiring videos of David Goggins on Instagram as he powers through ultra marathons. Of course, it’s incredibly motivating, but it’s vital to be realistic. If you’re completely out of shape or new to running, building your fitness to the same level as ultra-marathon runners takes time. 

With that said, it’s essential to set challenging goals. You have to mix these challenging goals with realism. There’s nothing worse than setting yourself the objective of running a marathon in two weeks when you haven’t run a mile in ten years. Although it’s possible, you’re equally likely to injure yourself to the point where you never run again.

Research how long it takes to build a solid running foundation and then how long you should spend training for your desired event, then plan around that.  

4. Use rewards 

One of the best ways to achieve your goals is to set rewards for yourself. Humans always respond well to incentives, irrespective of what they are. What motivates you? Is it food? Is it a relaxing spa day with a glass of wine? What about buying new running shoes or accessories? 

For every goal achieved, reward yourself for your diligent work. It doesn’t matter what the reward is; it simply needs to motivate you. Plan your rewards now and watch yourself power towards your running goals. 

Pro tip: Many runners enjoy destination races, where they take a trip to run a race in a new location, then enjoy all the local cuisine, activities, and sightseeing once they’ve accomplished their goals. 

5. Track your progress 

Tracking your progress leads to accountability, giving you a better chance of achieving your goals. Some runners are old school; they follow their progress with a pen and paper. However, the evolution of running watches, such as Garmin, Coros, or Polar, helps you track your progress. 

As a result, you can monitor whether your running speeds are increasing and if you’re training hard enough. Garmin watches have training plans, including full and half marathon plans, which help you prepare effectively for your running goals. 

6. Purchase Excellent Running Shoes 

With the holidays rapidly approaching, it’s time to treat yourself to new running shoes. Here’s the cold truth about running: whether you’re brand new to running or a former Olympian, owning a fantastic pair(s) of running shoes is vital to reaching your running goals. 

Running shoes—as long as they suit your running form and stride—will prevent injuries, boost your running speed, and make you a better overall runner. Subsequently, you’re more likely to achieve your running goals in 2023 if you have a comfortable pair of shoes. 

Pro tip: Running shoes “last” as long as you want them to… but on average you should rotate your shoes every 500km. If you have bilateral aches and pains, meaning if both knees/ankles/Achilles start to hurt, it’s time for new kicks.  

RELATED: Choosing the best running shoe rotation for your workouts. 

7. Cross-train and strength train

Becoming an excellent runner is more than simply running; you need to build strength, have a solid balance, and work on additional types of cardio. Swimming and cycling are excellent ways to improve your cardiovascular fitness when taking a day off running. 

In addition, common running injuries such as IT band syndrome and runner's knee are often the byproduct of weak glutes and calves. You can prevent these injuries and maintain your running goals by doing regular strength exercises, such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, and band work.

Defining your running goals for 2023 is the first step

As 2022 ends, there’s never been a better time to start goal setting. At the Runners Shop, we have all the running shoes, clothing, and coaching you’ll need for your running goals in 2023. 

It’s your time to shine and become the best running version of yourself.