Even though it's only October, I'm already thinking about my goals for 2011. I like having PR goals for 5k and 10, and I've now hit my 2010 goals for both. Plus, unless I run a race on a whim, I've run my last 5k and my last 10k for 2010. The only race I've got left on the schedule for 2010 is the Dallas White Rock half marathon. Since it will be my first HM, I'm pretty focused on it.
So, for 5k and 10k, I've been thinking about where to set my goals for 2011 for the past few days. My goals for 2010 were sub-25min for the 5k, and sub-60min for the 10k. There was no magic formula for coming up with these goals, they were picked because they were nice round numbers that would also push me to improve.
To be honest, I've found that one of the most difficult aspects of running is predicting rate of improvement. I really don't know how much improvement to expect over, say, a 12-month period. So this uncertainty makes it hard to set goals. So, rather than trying to predict how much I will improve, I set a target on how much I would like to improve, and make a best guess on whether it's realistic.
Thinking about 5k and 10k PR goals for 2011 has led me to the following numbers that I seem to keep coming back to: sub-22min 5k and sub-50min 10k. So those are the goals for 2011 that I've settled on, at least for now. The sub-22min goal for the 5k was chosen because (1) it's a good improvement over my current 5k PR of 24:22, and (2) it gets me to the point where I can start being age-group competitive in local races. The sub-50min goal for the 10k was also chosen because it would be a good improvement over my current 10k PR of 57:47, and it's a nice round number.
Other goals for 2011 so far include running my first full marathon, and I will also set a PR goal for the half marathon at some point after completing my first HM in December. I'm also thinking about where to set mileage goals for 2011 and about other more creative goals I might set.
I'd love to hear about goals others are setting for next year, and how they go about deciding where to set the bar for their different goals.