Having goals and targets is a potentially really important way to motivate training. Consistency in training is also really important to reach your running goals. However, combining these two things together with the obsessionality that many runners suffer from can end up being a millstone around your neck.
Take the great runner Ron Hill as an example (one time world number one marathoner, second man to go sub 2:10 and completed 115 marathons). He has not missed a day running since December 1964. His target has been to complete at least one mile, come what may. This has included doing a mile on crutches after a car crash in 1993 and after bunion surgery when (and I suspect this may be apocryphal) he ran holding onto a drip stand. By the time he reach 50 years of running every day in December 2014 he had logged over 160,000 miles (that is an AVERAGE of 61.5 miles per week for 50 years!!).
Is Ron Hill dedicated or crazy? I think mainly the former, but also a touch of the later. If he had missed one days running once a month through his entire running career, would it really have led to him not achieving what he has?? There are times when it is really important to listen to our bodies, especially as we get older.
So is it possible to try and keep a 'streak' going that allows for a little more flexibility than Ron Hill's? You could set yourself a goal of a minimum number of miles per week or per month. However, an illness or injury can then lead to trying to get all of the miles in over the last day or days of the relevant period. Having an annual mileage target allows for more flexibility and a common one people set themselves is 1000 miles i.e.an average of around 20 miles per week. I have heard of people getting to the Christmas week and still needing to run 60 plus miles to reach their target and hence having to run further than any previous week - not overly sensible!
On Monday, fingers crossed, I should reach the 1000 mile/year target for the 20th consecutive year having covered 27,882 miles over this period. Not quite in the same league as the great Ron Hill. This is the third latest in the year for me to reach the target, but I still have some leeway in case I don’t get the miles in over the weekend and on Monday. However, if I am trying to do 20+ miles on 31st December next year to keep the streak going will that be me being crazy or dedicated? You decide. Am I obsessional to even know these details – definitely!!
UKA Level 2