Coach Alana: Goals with an AND

I want to qualify for the Olympic trials...

I want to make it to Boston…

I want to qualify for State…

I want to make the varsity team...

While all these statements are acceptable goals to have they definitely fall short, and here is why. So many times our goals have an end before the outcome of the race has even been determined. Unfortunately, these are some of the most common goals we hear. What is missing is the “I want to do ______ and _______.” It is fantastic to be grateful to make it to an event and be thankful for the opportunity, but being grateful for an opportunity means showing up to the moment and performing to the best of your ability. If you are satisfied with simply showing up to the race you had a goal to make it to, I encourage to take a deeper look at your work and think about what other possibilities are out there. Without an “and” we become experts at settling. 

In my own athletic experience I have seen the fault of not having the “and” and the power of having something more to look forward to. I was in grad school when I had my final year of being a college athlete. I was on an awesome team of women who were very talented and driven. We were attending a school that was still new to the NCAA Division II, and the women’s cross country team had not yet qualified for nationals. We wanted to be the first team to do it. All season we dreamed about making it to nationals and despite having a lackluster performance at our Regional Championship, we made it. We got to the NCAA Championship meet and we were just happy to be there...unfortunately, we ran like it too. Previously in the season our team was ranked in the top 10 in the nation...we finished in 26th. Under cold and windy conditions we crumbled. The real question is, did we make our goal for the season, or did we miss a shot at striving for something more?  I don’t think I have ever been more dissatisfied with making what I wrote down on my goal sheet. 

I truly believe that if we don’t give ourselves more than one idea to grasp on to, we are cheating ourselves. Whether that be in our running career as a whole or just for a simple race. Are we letting ourselves just simply be content or are we creating a world where our possibilities are bountiful. Do our running careers simply end at the State Meet, National Meet, Boston or even the Olympic Trials? Have we accomplished everything we wanted to if we have just arrived at the moment or is there more? I believe there is always more. It doesn’t matter if you are never going to hit the times you hit before you were a Master’s athlete or if your “more” is finishing under a certain time, placing in your age group or finishing your race and not walking the hill. We can be thankful for how far we have managed to get, but let us not what forget what got us there in the first place...a drive for more. 


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I've been running since April of 2011, and I got into it mostly for weight loss purposes.  I quickly realized that I loved running and became interested in getting better and setting goals.  Each season brings different challenges, and I like being coached by people that coach me based on my personal goals, rather than a generic website that makes us all one type of runner.  RunningLane is perfect for runners seeking specific training tailored to their own personal goals.