Readers Roundtable: What’s Your Big Dream Running Goal?

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 3.13.20 PMI’m a dreamer. When I’m bored, I like to sketch out my running goals. I always have immediate short term goals for my current training cycle, but those are just stepping stones to reaching the big dream goals.

My big dream goals have changed as my life and I have, but I always have some running accomplishment I find comfort in fantasizing about. With the fall season on the horizon, and being somewhat immersed in the lives of young athletes, from my own children, the little girls on the soccer team I coach, and the North girls only now embarking on a lifetime of striving, I’ve found myself reflecting on what can be for them, for me, and now you.

So tell us:

What is your big pie in the sky craaaaaaazaayy running goal?ย 

PS I’ll tell you mine a little later in the comments. (I know, the suspense must be killing you. Ha!)

Salty Running boss and mother of 3 little ones with PRs of 3:10:15 (26.2), 1:25:59 (13.1) and 18:15 (5k). I love to write about running culture, mental training, and fitting in a serious running habit with the rest of a busy life.

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60 comments

  1. My big goal is to go sub-3:00 in the marathon. I started running a little more than two years ago and am sitting on a 3:18 PR, so I think it’s attainable with some more hard work, but on the other hand I’m 36 and not getting any younger. There also could be kids at some point in the not-too-distant future, so who knows if I’ll ever actually get there. But I can still dream!

    1. I made my one legit sub-3 attempt at 36! It was unsuccessful (for many reasons), but don’t count yourself out! I also had a 15 month old and 2.5 year old at the time. So this is very doable! Since you’re new to running, it’s conceivable you could be PR’ing well into your 40s and beyond ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Totally unrelated to the roundtable question but this reply of your reminded me of something I’m always wondering. How long does a PR last?

          1. Only because once I heard someone saying their PR from their 20’s didn’t still qualify as a “current PR” now that they were significantly older. Sounded silly to me but there’s a lot that sounds silly to me ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. Don’t count yourself out! I cannot comment on the age thing as I am younger than you, but seriously so many incredible women still running HUGE PR’s long after kids and into 30’s, 40’s 50’s etc etc.

      As for the 3:18-sub 3 thing…My PR in 2012 was 3:21, 2013 was 3:13, 2014 was 3:04 and 2015 was 2:58….you might chip away at that 3:18 but don’t ever think it cannot be done! Also…3:18 PR and you haven’t been running that long…you have SOOOO much potential, that’s a great time!

      1. Thanks for the encouragement, Salty and Barley! I guess the real trick here is being able to string together enough solid blocks of training and staying healthy and fitting it all in with the rest of real life while I’m still young enough for a goal like this to be realistic. But I guess that’s everyone’s challenge no matter the goal! I appreciate the encouragement and the real-life examples . . . I nabbed a 1:30 PR in the half during the middle of marathon training this spring, so I think things are still going in the right direction.

  2. I want to run Boston. With a current marathon PR of 4:45, I just need to shave slightly over an hour off my time. No problem, right?

    1. Anything is possible, and that really isn’t as far fetched as it may seem! Time, dedication, a little grit and lot of hard work and its’s amazing what we can do! Chase the Unicorn!

    2. I love this goal, Stacey. I am currently chasing the unicorn as well. My first marathon was a 5:40. I am now sitting at 3:55. Know in your heart that with hard work and commitment you will get there.

  3. I’m a goal oriented person and definitely always have some small ones and long term goals at the same time. I guess though, if I had to pick a long term pipe dream goal- it’s and OTQ (Did I just say that out loud?). I have no idea what the next 4 years will bring, and there are things that could prevent me from doing that…but are far higher priority (trying to have kids) but I won’t rule anything out. There are days I feel like it could never happen and days I feel like, I have just scratched the surface with my marathons. But, if it doesn’t happen I’m cool with that too- and love the thought of running with my kids one day being a long term big dream goal.

  4. Similar situation as AO above… my PR is 3:18, though I’ve had training that consistently shows I can do a 3:10, but I’d really love to run a 2:59:59 just once. Yet I’m 37 and I wonder when I’ll hit a wall at which I only start getting slower. Hoping CIM in December proves to be a perfect choice for magical things to happen!

    1. At this point I’d say that’s also my pie in the sky big dream time goal, but I just don’t know that I have the years of relative youth left that I can line up the back-to-back training blocks it would take to get there.

    2. Pimento: I will be spectator at CIM in December, which is where I ran my one and only marathon (we lived 5 miles from start at the time) and BQ’d. Let me know your number when we get closer as I’d love to follow you and a number of others I know you are running CIM. The number of OTQ’s from CIM is amazing. Good luck!

  5. This is going to sound crazy, but while I do have goals, I’ve found that publicizing them too much almost puts too much pressure on them for me (or maybe I’m afraid of public failure a la END-Sure 100k, a feeling that I don’t think I’ll ever forget). So, suffice it to say, I have goals, but I’m not quite ready to talk about them just yet…

      1. That’s a good point. I think I already put a ton of pressure on myself that making it SO public puts almost too much pressure on me. I don’t know, in reflection, that whether or not I accomplish them has any relationship to whether I have talked about them but that the publicity makes failing that much worth. I was pretty vocal about Burning River, for example, and finished that – and I think the fact that it was so public kept me going.

        But I’m still holding these close to the vest. For now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Sub 3 in the spring of 2017. I managed a 3:06 last May in 72 degree heat, so I’m optimistic that I can do it under better conditions. Looking for a smaller goal race so that I actually have a chance of winning. Competition is a great motivator for me.

    Gearing up for another big training cycle soon!!

    1. YAS! Love it! I love that you know what environment is best for you and aren’t in a hurry. I think that bodes very well for your chances!

  7. For now, it’s Boston or bust. I plan to chisel away at my PR (3:55) until I get there. I use this goal as motivation and visualize the moment I BQ often! Beyond that, I want to be a runner for life. I want my kids (one day) to see me as an example that anything is possible if you work hard and dream big.

  8. 1:29 half and under 20:00 5k. I kind of feel like I’m not very good at marathons and may have peaked at 3:25, which I’m happy to take!

    1. Those are great goals! I actually think I probably have more scope to improve my shorter distance times, but the marathon keeps pulling me back and it’s hard to train for both!

    2. I ran my first sub-20 5k right after a 3:25 marathon and then my first sub 1:30 half about 6 months later. Conclusion: you got this!

    3. You will hit your goals, I have zero doubt about that (and I would know!) Might as well add sub-40 10K to that list ๐Ÿ˜‰ Then our goals would line up again buddy. (I’ve done the sub-20 5K, but it was a few years ago so I’d like to do it again so that way it wasn’t a fluke, LOL!)

  9. Love reading everyone’s goals! Goal setting has always been a big part of running for me. I qualified for Boston this past May (3:29) and will hopefully get to run it next year – it had been a long-term dream goal for quite a while (I ran my first marathon in 2007), and then after two kids, and lots of hard work, it suddenly felt possible. The goal was qualifying and actually running the marathon will be the celebration.

    I will admit that I’m struggling a bit with where to turn my attention next – running 3:25 or 3:20 just doesn’t have that same pull! I’m planning another marathon for this fall, but not sure that the allure of a small PB will be enough to push me to that pain place just to run 3:27 or 28.

    1. That is a challenge. I felt that when I wasn’t quite in sub-3 shape, but kinda close that I struggled to dig super deep to scrounge for an extra couple of minutes when that still meant I was still so far off the goal. You could try to qualify for automatic entry in NYC or qualify for a local race as an elite or first corral. Those can be good interim goals before you get close to the sub-3?

  10. My big dream goal is to PR in something again. My softest PRs are the 10k (39:06; my 5k PR is 18:15) and the marathon (3:10:15; my half PR is 1:25:59), so I think those are the most likely bet. As I said above, if I had to pick crazy dream goal times it would be to break 3 in the marathon, which I honestly think I could do if I could string together about 4 solid training seasons before I age out of my ability (probably 47ish, I’d venture to guess). So, not sure that can happen with … life. But, that’s ok. Above all else, I want to stay in some semblance of shape, jump in some races and do solidly well, and definitely, at least at some point, put in some big training cycles again even if the best result I can hope for is to be competitive in an age group or whatever. I feel like I’ve learned so much from past cycles, including successes and failures, and that if I took the pressure off, relaxed and enjoyed it I could do quite well.

  11. Many of you ladies have been so inspiring here, especially seeing Barley and Tea making huge improvements in the marathon. With that said, my main goal is to continue to have fun with running. If not, on to something else. Currently, I’m training to attempt a BQ, which is a big goal, a goal I’ve dreamed about since I started running over 16 years ago. However, I was born a dreamer so I can’t help but think even bigger. The chances are slim to none but there is a very tiny, tiny, place in my heart for an OTQ. It’s kind of like a, “wouldn’t it be cool if I was more talented than I thought?”, goal- and then I start to wonder, hmmm. But yeah, it would take a lot of improvement and commitment and I’m not sure my stress levels could handle it. So for now, it sits there contently in my heart.

  12. I have never run consistently for more than 2-3 years … and I’ve only done that once, a number of years ago. With that said, the #1 goal is running consistently and staying healthy/having fun. I would like to/think I can run fast but I think this will happen with time and patience, right?! Go chase those PRs girls, you all are amazing!

  13. Marathon OTQ for 2020. I hired a coach in January explicitly for that reason. When they announce the qualifying standards, I’ll take a step back and assess if I’m making progress and decide if it’s realistic to keep throwing myself at it for (probably) 3 more years. Right now, I feel pretty good about my chances of breaking 3 hours within the next couple of training cycles so it’s full steam ahead. I’ve set PRs in the 5k, 4 mile, 10k, 10 miler and marathon so far this year! Having not run in high school or college, this is a chance to push the boundaries and see what’s possible.

  14. Aside from qualifying for Boston, I’d also like to win a 5K (overall) just once. I’m tired of the bronze. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I would also like to be fit and fast enough to actually really *race* a half and/or full marathon.

    1. Oh, you are my spirit running twin! I’ve always run in such large races that I’ve never even come near a podium, and have always wondered what that feels like. I used to be in this slightly toxic tri-training group where the AG podium finishers each weekend would get head pats in the weekly newsletter, while the rest of us ordinary mortals, having raced our hearts out, wouldn’t even get a mention for our pains. Good riddance.

      I’d also like to BQ. Someday. Even if I have to age into it ๐Ÿ™‚ My first marathon took me more than 6 hours; I once took an entire hour off my marathon time (bet most of you can’t say THAT!) and have been felled by cramps in every marathon since. Currently on track for a sub-2 half, so…getting there.

    2. You just got to pick the right race! ๐Ÿ™‚ We definitely have some near me that are in the 21-22 range for a winning female. Sometimes you guess wrong, though, and show up in 19:30 shape and get dusted by a woman running 18:30.

  15. PRs at my age (38), post four pregnancies, three deliveries, and two kids, are really something I have mixed feelings about. There are still some distances at which I can achieve a PR, and it is tempting to focus on entirely, that but it comes at a huge cost. So my biggest running goal right now is to string together a lengthy time period of healthy, happy running for which I can feel grateful regardless of what the watch tells me. That’s involves a whole set of challenges beyond just the fundamentals of running, of course! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I live near Boston so my previous big goal was to BQ, which I did 2x in 2015 but neither was fast enough to get me in… I was -2.15 or something like that. My next marathon was cancelled at the last minute (in the starting corral!) due to a freak storm. Next one after that was hotter than hell. Needless to say, my marathon mojo is pretty low right now! I’m just trying to string together some consistency…. if I had to commit to a set of goals, these seem reasonable: 3:30 marathon, 1:35 half, 21:00 5K, who knows for 10K since I can’t remember the last time I raced one! Will take some serious motivation improvements to get there (and running more than my current 20 mpw….). Cooler weather helps.

  17. Sounds ridiculous but… I plan to run the South West Coat Path (UK) in 2018. It’s a big year for me – not only because I turn 30 but it would be 10 years since my dad passed away. He was a champion veterans long distance runner and is basically the reason *I* am a runner… so what better way to celebrate him, and living, and running, than to take the better part of a month covering 630 miles of brutal coastal trails with an elevation change equivalent to climbing Mount Everest from sea level 3.5 times…?!
    It’s been on my mind to do a staged point to point for a year or two, and I don’t necessarily want to do it as a race. When the idea initially appeared, I dismissed it as too big, too stupid – then after I’d run on it (because it’s more effective than sleep), I had that moment where my stomach dropped to my feet, my knees went wobbly and I broke out in a cold sweat just thinking about it… which of course means it’s exactly the right decision.
    2 years to get ready. Bring on the crazy…!