Readers’ Roundtable: Revising Running Goals

How many days per week do you lace up?
When have you revised a running goal?

Happy birthday, Salty!  And welcome to the Masters’ League!

While my dear sister was off having a wonderful 40th birthday weekend I started answering some Salty emails.  I came across a question from Salty reader Erin, who wanted some answers about forming a game plan so she could qualify for Boston before her 40th birthday.  And it got me thinking about a post Salty once wrote: Forget Time Limits When it Comes to Your Running Goals.

Working toward our goals is supposed to be fun and rewarding, but can sometimes become stressful if we start to put undue pressure on ourselves.  So today for our roundtable I’d like to know:

Tell us about a time you revised your goals.  What was the end result? Do you think it was worth it?

As always, we’ll take your answer in the comments!

Cinnamon made Salty Running, takes lots of pictures and drinks lots of coffee. By day she's a camera assistant for films and tv in New York, and by night she's on a quest for zen in the 10k. Her writing is a mix of satirical humor, finding wholeness as an average runner, cheering for runners at all paces and more.

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  1. I had to revise my time goal for the NYC marathon in November 2014. I think it kept me from getting injured and helped me squeak in a Boston qualifying time. What happened was that in the Spring of 2014, my training paces and one short race suggested (per the MacMillan predictor) that I was on track for a 3:30 marathon. Then I got injured and could only cross train for most of the summer. After a couple good fall training runs, I wanted to cling to that prior prediction as my goal. But I hurt my hamstring one week before the marathon by running faster than my body was used to. And I read about one of the Salty Bloggers not finishing her marathon after running fast on a hurt hip. I decided that to be sure I could finish, I needed to drastically revise my goals, and the night before the marathon, targeted a 3:45 marathon (the cut off Boston Qualifying time for my age group). I finished and felt happy at 3:43, whereas if I had stuck with my 3:30 plan, I think I would have had a very bad day.

    Since that marathon in November 2014, I have tried to train for the love of running and watching my body get stronger and faster over time without being tied to any goal time other than the one my body tells me it is capable of doing that week. I have been able to progress and have a good shot at finishing my spring marathon substantially faster than 3:43.

  2. Awesome, Caper!

    As for myself, in 2012 when I was gunning hard and training for a BQ time, I did ultimately revise my goal when I knew I wasn’t hitting the paces I needed to make it work. But then on race day I didn’t commit to the revision and went out hard at BQ pace. I made it through the halfway point but then I crashed…HARD. Experiencing glycogen depletion and extreme fatigue in the middle of a marathon really taught me that revising my goals is more than okay, it’s probably good for me.

  3. I revised my goal at Boston about 3-4 times within the race. Within the first few miles, I talked myself down from 3:30 to 3:35. Shortly after the half, I decided anything in the 3:30s would be awesome. By the last 10k, the only goals I hung on to were to finish and not die of hypothermia or spontaneous combustion of the calve muscles. Never been so happy to have met a “C” goal.
    For the 10k that I might run on Saturday, I’ve revised my goals from trying to PR to just trying to out kick my 10 year old. I might have to revise that one mid race too!

  4. Happy birthday, Salty! I am going through this right now. I started off my training with really big goals, similar times as Caper and Basil, actually. Must be something about that 3:30 pace. At this point in my training, I’d rather just have a solid first marathon (first time training competitively for one). I’d like to feel good at mile 16 and mile 20 and if I feel really good toward the end, be able to pick it up. Much of this will involve going out a lot slower than I have been in recent races. That just might be the hardest part…patience!

  5. I’m with Garlic and Basil! I usually end up revising my race goal, uh, in the middle of the race because I went out too hard at the start.

    My best marathon time was my first, and I think it was successful because I didn’t have any expectations beyond finishing and didn’t put too much pressure on myself. My best half time, on the other hand, took a lot of deliberate training and tempo runs. Now if only I can have the best of both worlds…

  6. Timely post for me, as I have just been forced to revise my running goals big-time by a meniscal tear that happened out of nowhere (ah, 40…). Since I cannot run, I have had to put my running goals on hold entirely. So I decided to set some goals in another sport that I can participate in – I’m focusing on swimming, getting some coaching and may even try some races. My running timetable has had to be adjusted for sure, but I’m in this for life so I’ll be back come fall and hopefully better for this experience.

  7. I intended to run my first half marathon (the Windsor Green Half Marathon) on May 17, 2015, which would have been my first half in five years, having battled hamstring tear, long-term rehab, start and stop to my running. My training was going according to my training plan but as the week pre-race approached, my right glutes/hip flexors felt weak. Given that I’ve had such bad luck when I overdo my running, after much mental struggles, I decided to back off and run the 10k instead. Good choice as I was less stressed AND did PR of 47:07, breaking my previous 10k time by more than 2 1/2 minutes. Feel good about the decision–knowing that being able to run over the long-term, even in my mid-sixties, is the key to my extreme joy over this sport.