The running goal that won’t stretch

When I set my goals for 2021, I tried to be realistic about what I could accomplish. You know, something that I can manage but also something that will require me to work hard and push myself a little further than I’ve gone before.

This year, that included an increased running mileage from 700 to 800 miles. I knew that would be a hard push, especially given the struggle I had to reach 700 miles last year. But I also knew I could do it if I pushed myself enough.

So, I set a goal to run 800 miles in 2021.

And then, I found inspiration to add a stretch goal. Because, why not?

That stretch goal? Run 2021K in 2021. Which equates to 1,255.8 miles. Easy, peasy. Right?


I think I started to doubt my ability to reach my stretch goal in March. And as time went on, that doubt increased. But I kept inching towards the goal thinking and hoping that I would catch up on the mileage in the summer.

But I didn’t catch up. And soon, I realised that there was no realistic way to catch up and to have time for my other goals (walking, geocaching, reading… enjoying life in general).

And so, I have decided to scrap my goal to run 2021K this year. It’s just not going to happen.

But it was only ever a stretch goal and I think I knew when I set it that it would be impossible improbable. My primary running goal, however, is still in reach so I will focus on that now. I hope that will make running feel a little more easy-breezy as I can go out for a “little” 5-mile run without feeling that I should be running 10 miles.

Attempting this stretch goal has been a good thing for my primary goal though, as I have been a little more motivated to get the miles in early which means the 800 miles will be easier to achieve now. It also made me realise that I want to focus on my runs and not my mileage. That means that instead of setting big mileage goals next year, I will set a realistic mileage minimum with the goal of running better times and with better form.

This realisation is especially key as we move further and further towards a post-pandemic world – and I spend more and more time working and playing away from home. It has worked out OK to plan a 10-mile weekday run when I’m working from home (loads of flexibility) but on days I travel to the office, anything more than 5 miles (7 at a push) will be too much. (I can delay my shower when I’m working from home.)

Anyhow, I am a little disappointed with myself for “giving up” on this goal. But, at the same time, I am proud of myself for accepting my limitations and for realising where I should focus my priorities.

With three months remaining in 2021, I will be working on reaching the rest of my goals and I am hopeful that my 2021 goals recap will be filled with success stories.

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