How to Set SMART Running Goals 2019

Setting goals is an excellent way for runners to stay motivated to run and to make sure they stick to their running habit. When choosing running goals, it helps to use the SMART principle and set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Here are basic rules to follow when you’re setting your running goals.

Be Specific

An example of a specific goal would be: “I want to improve my PR in the marathon by two minutes in five months.” A specific goal helps keep you motivated because you know exactly what you need to do to accomplish it.

Make Your Goal Measurable

When choosing a running goal, make sure you also set criteria for measuring your progress. Making your running goals measurable will help you stay on track, maintain your motivation, and know when you’ve reached your target. To figure out if your goals are measurable, ask yourself things such as how much? And how many?

Keep It Attainable

Let’s face it, not everyone is going to qualify to run the Boston Marathon or run a 6:00 mile. So, while it’s good to set lofty running goals, it’s important to choose ones that you’ll be able to accomplish if you’re willing to do the work. The best goals will require you to push yourself to achieve them, but they aren’t too extreme. If a goal is too far out of reach, you probably won’t truly commit to doing because deep down you know it’s not achievable.

To figure out if a goal is attainable, see how it compares to your previous running achievements. Do you have to make considerable improvements—beyond your ability—to get to that level? If you’re not sure, talk to a running coach or running friends to help give you a gut check.

Make Your Goal Relevant

Just because you’re a runner doesn’t mean you have to set a goal that’s very popular among other runners, such as completing a marathon. For a goal to be relevant, it should be something that you consider to be worthwhile and important, so you’re willing and able to work towards it. Your goals should represent you, so they shouldn’t just be something that someone else is doing or suggesting that you attempt to achieve.

Keep Your Goals Timely

Make sure you attach deadlines to your goals. For example, if you say, “I want to run a sub 2-hour half marathon”, but you don’t even have a race in mind, there’s no sense of urgency for your goal. But if you pick out a race and say you want to run a 1:59 half marathon on April 29, then you know exactly where you need to be by that date. Having a deadline will keep you motivated and prevent you getting bored or wanting to skip workouts. If you find that you’re ready to achieve your running goal way ahead of schedule, then readjust your goal and keep challenging yourself.

Age grading running for fitness

Age grading is a statistical attempt to measure the relative strength of a performance for an athlete of a given age. Most people agree that a 55-year-old running a 20:00 5k is a more impressive time than a 25-year-old running 19:00, even though the younger runner’s performance is faster in an absolute sense.


As a general rule, many runners consider a good finishing time for a 5K to be anything under 25 minutes. To manage that would mean running at a pace of around 8 minutes per mile, which would mean finishing in 24 minutes, 51 seconds (24:51).

What is a good time for a 5k run for a beginner? To complete without stopping


How long does it take to run 1 mile?

No conclusive evidence exists on “average” 1-mile run times, because there is no scientifically agreed-upon average runner. Opinion varies widely, but most anecdotal evidence places the average between seven and 10 minutes per mile for a non-competitive, in-shape runner.

A 9-minute mile for a man and 10:30 for a woman are signs of moderate fitness; men who can’t run better than a 10-minute mile, and women slower than 12 minutes, fall into the low-fitness category

Having Fun or serious?

Scoring points against each other vs Marathon training or other running goals.

Last year I set a goal of completing 10 5k road races (emulating June)

Runner’s World Age Grade Calculator

What this tool does: Our age-grade calculator produces a score for race times. The score is expressed as a percentage of the world-best time for the distance for a given age and gender. For example, a 44-year-old woman who runs a 25:00 5K gets an age-graded score of 62.33 percent.

For each performance, the calculator also provides an age-graded time, which is the equivalent performance by a person of that gender in the open division (generally, up to age 30). In the example above, the 44-year-old’s 25:00 5K has an age-graded time of 23:41.

Why use it: Age-grading your race performances can be inspiring, instructional, or just plain interesting.

If you’re no longer setting personal records, age-grading shows how your current times compare to those who are younger and/or faster than you. For example, if you set your 10-mile PR at age 28, and recently ran a 10-mile race at age 54, you can input the data for both races and see which scores higher. You might discover that, although slower in absolute terms, your current times are of relatively greater quality.

Using the calculator to compare recent times at different distances can show you which performances were best.

Age-grading can be used to compare yourself with other runners. Using the information from race results, input the age and gender of those who finished around you to see whose performance was relatively best. (You’ll get a little boost of confidence if that younger runner who passed you near the end scored lower with his age-graded score.) Also fun: Compare your score for a race to that of the winner to see how close you were to “winning” the race.

How to use it: Enter age, gender, race distance, and finishing time in the appropriate fields. The age-graded score and time will automatically appear.

Running Age Grade Calculator

The most current set of these age-grading tables is located at the USATF

website at:


What is the average time to run a 10k?

The average time for runners to complete a 10K race generally falls between 50 and 70 minutes. The median time for American 10K racers in 2012 was 55:52 for men and 1:04:37 for women, according to Running USA.