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Running Goals

Sep 8, 2015 | Running | 22 comments

I’ve been really open by my A goal for Chicago, and have mentioned it most weeks in my training recaps- I am trying to qualify for Boston, and run a sub 3.35.

That means running an 8.10 pace…for 26.2 miles.

I do not want a repeat of Paris where I missed my A goal by 37 seconds, and was so devastated that I cried hysterically afterwards, and can only think of the race now with bad memories. I ruined the race for myself and for my family that had travelled over to watch it.

Paris Marathon

So with that in mind, I want to have a number of goals, and hopefully, if I achieve at least 1 of them, I won’t leave thinking that Chicago was a total bust.

A goal. First and foremost I will give my all to achieve a 3.35.

B goal. If it doesn’t go perfectly on the day, I will still be over the moon with a sub 3.40.

C goal. A PR, but really a sub 3.45 I will be thrilled with.

D goal. I’ve said to myself that if it doesn’t look like I’m going to finish with at least a PR, then I’ll wait at the side and run with my step-dad to finish his first marathon side by side.

I won’t be able to control everything that happens on the day, but I can control how I react to them. Whether it’s pushing with everything I have until the very end (like I did in Paris) or accepting that it’s not my race but that I could make someone else’s race easier/more fun and doing that instead. I do not want to ruin the Chicago marathon for myself.

But in the meantime, I will do everything possible to achieve that A goal on the 11th October.

Running faster


  1. Tiny runner

    Some excellent goals there. I know how scary it is to put your goals out there for all of the internet (especially when you’re not sure if you can achieve it). I’m really enjoying following your progress and I can’t wait to see how you get on in Chicago.

  2. Zoe at Splodz Blogz

    Having a series of goals seems very sensible, and should motivate you to enjoy your run whatever happens on the day. You are certainly putting the work in… here’s to that Boston qualification!

  3. stevebonthrone

    Hey Charlie, some good goals there but I would drop goals C and D. If you allow those two into your mind then you are beginning to accept more than simply your goal and on race day, you want to be going in focused on achieving your goal.

    I would recommend making peace with Paris after all, it can be useful as a learning point on which to build a successful attack in Berlin. If you think about it, you didn’t fail in Paris, you learned a very good lesson on becoming a better runner. If you think back to that day, what would you have done differently in order to get your target time? I had a similar experience in London a few years back where I had a bad run and tried to blank it out of my mind as it was so bad but then I looked back on it, realised that I had pushed the pace too much too soon to stay on target time before the wheels fell off at mile 22. I’ve never done that since.

    A couple of things to try in training are speed drills/hill reps (if you’re not doing them already) and also in some of your long runs, try running every 3rd mile at sub 8min/mile pace with the others around 8:30 min/mile to get your body used to running faster than target pace so that target pace begins to feel very comfortable or rather easy.

    Go for it! You CAN do it! 🙂

  4. Jasmine

    I think it’s so good having multiple goals, it really makes you focus on the event itself rather than any pressure, I did the same for my first marathon this year. I don’t think it makes you lose motivation to achieve A, but it makes you feel awesome for finishing, whether its with goal A or D.

    Loving the blog Charlie!

  5. Miranda

    Such a smart approach! A few years ago, I missed my 10K goal by 45 seconds. Like you, I was so devastated that I cried hysterically after and let it ruin my whole day… and frankly, everyone else’s too. After that, I vowed never to do that again. It takes all the enjoyment out of running! Having a sliding scale of goals is a great way to look at it and set yourself up for success no matter what! Good luck with the rest of your training!

  6. CARLA

    theres a chance I will be there too.
    VISITING MY SISTER AND CHEERING THE RUNNERS (and you and your goals) ON!!!

    • charlotte

      AMAZING! Fingers crossed!

  7. Laureen @Peachylau

    Perhaps the main goal should be proud of yourself whatever happens? I am certainly proud of you for working so hard towards your goals.

  8. Chiswickmum

    You did not ruin the day in Paris for your family. I had the longest hug in ages while you cried hysterically.and a random American got to be the hero in front of his mother by handing out tissues surreptitiously. While it is lovely to think you will run beside family, I think you should have goal D to smile and wave at your photographer! 🙂 Actually i agree with some other commentators – just have goal A and B. And learn from Paris. Any marathon is extraordinary in my book. love you xx

  9. w. Purves

    Great approach. You’ll make it! Grandfather.

  10. Erica @ erica finds

    Check out Meb for Mortals. His section on race goals is amazing. I would add to A through D to finish with a smile and knowing you did your best. Chicago is a great, fast race in good conditions. I had a PR there in 2001 and a PW there in 2007 (was over 90 degrees). I live in Chicago and my advice stick with a pace group. If you are gunning for 3:35 start with them (or 3:40 and pick up the pace in the second half). In the big races, it is VERY easy to get drawn in and to run too fast in the beginning. Ask me how I know 😉

  11. katieferg89

    I like this. I think you have to have several goals because everyone knows that you can’t predict a marathon day 100%. But ONLY think about B & C if A really isn’t on, because as people have said, you don’t want to focus on them.
    You’ll smash it – training looks to be on point 🙂

  12. Lucy

    I think those are some brilliant goals, and I wish you the best of luck! At the end of the day I think you should be proud of yourself regardless of what happens on the day – you’ve achieved some amazing things, and worked so hard!

  13. Nicole

    you are amazing. you’ve gotten so much faster. you’re already such a winner

  14. has2run

    You will totally crush it I am sure. Don’t look back just look forward, you’ve already learned from Paris so leave that race in Paris. You have so many positive friends and family who support you!!! Have a great Tuesday!!!!!

  15. Jess

    All great goals Charlie- I would be thrilled with any of them! Running races with my Dad is really one of the best things in the world, so if your worse case scenario is finishing side by side with your stepdad then I’d say that’s pretty good! x

  16. Kim Hatting

    I love your perspective of having multiple goals, especially the D goal…to stand back and run with your step father. What a great way to make the day even better for BOTH of you! It has taken me a long time to realize that no matter how much you train and prepare, there is only so much you can control on race day, and some days are just the THE day for everything to come together. But, by running with someone else, you both get to celebrate the finish line together. Good luck!!!!!

  17. Lauren

    Hey lady, I’m putting my Chi blog goal post up soon. I have multiple ones. A marathon is a beast and sadly I know that some days you show up and it just isn’t your day. Positive thinking though! Having an enjoyable race is always a goal of mine.

  18. Kelly

    Hi Charlie – I recently found your blog and love following your adventures in life and fitness. I admire your dedication to the marathon training – I ran a half about 5 years ago and said I’d never do it again but reading your posts has got me reconsidering. 🙂 I think it’s great you’re coming to Chicago (where I live!) to smash some running goals!

  19. fionajarrett

    Good idea to get your head straight well in advance of race day so you’re prepared whatever the race goes on the day. Something that has worked for me lately is having for eg. something similar to your plan B and C, & leaving A as a bonus. Think the reason this works for me is that it takes the pressure off & then when I can enjoy it, I run faster. Bit of a psychological game with myself 😉 I think you’re gonna smash it on the day & best of luck with it 😀

  20. ines

    Hi, great post (and blog)! I really like how you set different goals according to how the race goes. Managing expectations can be hard but is a thing a lot of runners (including me) could benefit from I think :). Good luck with the marathon!

  21. Cantara (@GymbagsGladrags)

    Love these goals and your approach Charlie! I’ve really enjoyed following your marathon training posts, it’s so inspirational and you’re so focused and dedicated. I believe in you and whether you achieve goal A, B, C or D, I’m behind you all the way! Good luck!!

    C xx


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