The Top Ten Running Goals – How Many Do You Have?

By Rick Morris

You already know you need running goals. Running goals are like road maps to help you reach your final running destination. Most runners commonly have both short and long term goals. Is that all the goals there are? Not even close. There are many types of running goals. Here are our top ten running goals. How many of these do you have.


This is the ultimate goal and is as long as they get. Your lifer is your lifetime running goal. What do you ultimately want to accomplish with your running life? Your lifer goal will probably require digging deep into your soul and may involve more than just running. Do you want to become a holistic runner? Do you want to develop a pure joy for running? Do you want to improve yourself as a person or increase your spirituality. Really put some honest thought into this one and learn your true reason for running. If you fully and honestly develop your lifer goal, it will pull you towards it like a super charged magnet.

Super Macro

I really hated my economics courses in college. And worst of all, there were two of them required. Macro and micro economics. Macro basically refers to the big picture while micro involves more small and specific goals. Your running goals also come in macro and micro flavors. The first one is your super macro running goal. A super macro goal can cover anywhere between 5 and 50 years. This can be nearly any goal from completing your ultimate race, such as an Ironman Triathlon, to running across country, hitting the 50,000 mile running threshold or finishing 100 marathons. The only rule is that it should take a long time to accomplish and should be extremely challenging.


Now we come to your macro goal. A macro goal is another very long goal that extends somewhere between 2 and 5 years. Just as with your super macro goal, your macro goal should present a substantial challenge but should be one you can complete within the 2 to 5 year time span. An example of this one might be to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Super Long Term

Super long  running goals are one to two year goals that present a challenge but you can see yourself approaching accomplishment. Sort of like the light at the end of a tunnel. Good examples of super long goals are becoming a barefoot runner, learning to swim for a triathlon or finishing your first marathon.

Long Term

Your long term goal is the first type of running goal that is truly on your immediate horizon. A long term goal usually covers between 6 months and one year and involves a more current running goal. Long term goals often involve performance or fitness goals. Examples of common long term  running goals are setting a new PR, completing a number of goal races, running a marathon or hitting a goal weight.

Short Term 1 to 4 weeks

Now we are getting to the running goals that are right around the corner. Your short term goals last between 1 and 4 weeks and can involve short term fitness/performance gains, goal races or nearly anything other goal that can be reached within 4 weeks. Many times these short term goals are stepping stones to reaching long term goals. For example you might want to extend your long run to 15 miles as part of your long term goal of finishing a marathon.

Super Short Term

Super short term running goals are around one week in length. With your goals getting shorter, performance and fitness gains begin to lose traction. It’s becomes very difficult to accomplish any significant fitness increases in a week or less. That makes more immediate goals such as goal races, specific training runs or workouts and healthy eating, more appropriate super short term goals. An example of a common super short term goal for competitive runners is getting in a long run, a hill workout and an interval session this week.


A micro goal is very short term and is basically your daily goal. Your super short term goal is nearly always accomplished through the successful completion of a series of micro goals. In the above super short term example, the long run, hill workout and interval session are all micro goals.

Super Micro

Can you break down your running goals to a time span shorter than one day. Of course you can. A super micro goal can last from minutes to hours. You can break your daily workout or race into super micro goals. For example, many marathon runners break their micro goal of finishing the marathon they are running into super micro goals of the next 5K. That makes the micro goal of 26.2 miles seem less intimidating. A super micro goal for a typical interval training session would be completing the next repeat at goal pace.

The Moment

I’m sure you’ve heard the advice of living in the moment. This goal, the shortest of them all, is running in the moment. Are individual moments really goals? It may not seem like it but they really are. In a race, your moment goal may be to pass that runner directly in front of you. In an interval training session it may be to accelerate to sprint pace for the final 50 meters. You could even have stride goals in the moment. An example of that would be to successfully carry out a proper foot plant with each stride.