Choose one goal

Hi friends! I love this fresh start as we kick off a new year.

As we write out our 2017 intentions, it’s easy to lump together too many goals into one.  I’ve definitely been guilty of this!

We love one stop shops -Starbucks in Target? Yes! Smoothie bar in the gym? Please!

But I think we forget that fitness is not a one stop shop.  If you have a particular goal… get faster, run farther, build muscle, lose body fat, or lose weight… we cannot achieve all of those at one time.

If you want lose weight, now is not the time to train for a marathon.

If you want to build muscle, you don’t want to be running long and slow every weekend.

Your training should change based on your particular goals.  Choose one goal- and then build a plan from there.  Without a goal, how will you know if you’re making progress or moving yourself in the direction you want to go?


What might that plan look like?

To get faster…

Spend a few weeks building a strong base mileage with easy miles and then begin with one (or two) workouts per week.  Choose a goal.  If you want a faster 5k, incorporate one of these workouts each week.

If you want to run a faster distance race, incorporate goal race pace miles into one run each week and occasionally into the long run.

To run farther…

To build for an endurance race, skip the speed work in order to increase weekly mileage by about 10% each week.  Build for three weeks, and then cut the mileage back by 1/3 for a recovery week.  Add a mile or two to a weekly long run on the 3 week build and enjoy the down week.  The recovery time allows your body to adapt and get stronger.

Pick a goal race to give you a timeframe and work backwards from there to plan out your distances.

To build muscle…

Obviously you can’t build muscle if you are running all the time! You must include strength training, which can be with your own body weight or with increasingly heavier weights at least 2-3x per week.  Diet plays a huge role in building muscle as well.  You must be eating adequate protein, with a good balance of carbs and fat.

Have you ever followed a competitive body builder on Instagram? They will gain weight during their muscle building phase to allow their body to build additional muscle, and will then ‘cut’ back down to reduce body fat in a later phase.

To lose weight…

Although some people can lose weight running distances, our bodies quickly adapt to the demands of endurance and most women will struggle to lose weight with high mileage.  Instead, focus on shorter workouts with bursts of higher intensity (sprints or cross training intensity) and incorporate strength training for toning.

A lower training load allows you to regulate your appetite better and dial in your nutrition to reach your weight loss goals.

As I thought through my goals for 2017, I divided them into seasons.  I want to improve speed but I also want to improve endurance and distance, so I will take turns focusing on each with race specific workouts.

Do you need help creating an individualized plan? I have a few nutrition and/or running coaching spots opening up – email me and we can chat!

Do you have a specific goal you’re working toward?

Have you ever had a one stop shop approach to fitness, hoping that your workouts would achieve all the goals? (I definitely have!)

I am linking up with SuzRachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches CornerPatty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday.











27 thoughts on “Choose one goal

  1. This is so true, and such a good reminder! Ive definitely been guilty of working on too many things at once. I think for me this year’s focus is more about maintaining where I am with my running, while continuing to work on strength training. Nothing too extreme, but trying to find the right balance between running, cross/strength training, and resting.
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted..3 Simple Ways To Improve Your Running In 2017My Profile

  2. Such a great post! I agree with all points. I was the guilty party last year trying to achieve all.the.goals in one shot. I ended up frustrated and burned out. This year I’m focusing on speed and strength. Maybe a fall marathon later…but for now it’s all about those pesky 5-10ks and muscle tone. Last year’s marathons left me flabby.
    Jess @ run pink recently posted..#MotivationalMonday 2016 Review and 2017 Game Plans!My Profile

  3. Absolutely, 100% yes to this! It’s so easy to say I want to do “x, x, and x” not taking into account that each ‘x’ needs a different focus and discipline. Anything worth doing, is worth doing correctly and that takes time…something no one wants to take it seems, right? Love how you laid this out with some much needed truth for 2017. I know you will be reaching your goals this year and I cannot wait to watch!!
    Allie recently posted..2017 Places, Races and FacesMy Profile

    • Ha!!! It’s true… it’s what everyone wants but our job is to make sure the goals are realistic and it’s rare that they can all combine into one training cycle!
      Laura recently posted..Choose one goalMy Profile

  4. This is great! The people that actually manage to succeed at their goals (and keep going to the gym after the first week of January) are the ones that understand this! I like that you divided your goals into seasons. Makes things easier to focus on. 🙂

  5. I love this post. The method of choosing one goal at a time has changed my approach to running/fitness for the better. Last year, my goal was to stay injury-free, so I focused on prehab/recovery and I’m running into 2017 still injury free, ready to focus on a big goal: my first half ironman.

  6. SO true! I clearly had a different approach for my new year’s list (I did a bucket list of items), but I know for my athletic goals I need to organize them into seasons and prioritize which ones are more important than others. Right now I’m figuring out what that perfect race schedule is to meet my goals 🙂
    Lauren @ Lauren Runs recently posted..2017 Bucket ListMy Profile

  7. I am so guilty of this!!! I’m going to get wicked fast AND lose weight at the same time because all the running I do will obviously lead to losing weight….NOPE! Great post!!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..A Year in PicturesMy Profile

  8. Great advice, Laura! I think we often get caught in the I Can Do It All mentality, but it’s so important to take a step back. Yes, and respect the goal! My running goal is pretty broad this year, but I may add in some smaller goals as the year moves along.
    Clarinda recently posted..#RWRunStreak RecapMy Profile

  9. Such tough but true advice! I’ve recently taken a forced break from long distance running (trying to resolve an injury once and for all) and for a while I think I was actually losing weight. It’s hard to wrap your head around that, but so true!

  10. This is such a good post. I just wrote about my “intentions” for 2017 and I only had one thing that I was really serious about and even thought twice about even posting it because it wasn’t a lengthy list like most people write. Reading this confirms that I should be satisfied with really working on one thing! Thank you.

  11. I’m trying to take off the “marathon pounds” from the last few years, so I’m focusing on faster runs and more cross training and weights for the next month or so. I’d like to go into my next long distance training season a bit faster and slimmer.
    MCM Mama Runs recently posted..Setting 2016 Goals not ResolutionsMy Profile

  12. I do wind up overwhelming myself with multiple goals. I have to really focus on one thing at a time to keep my sanity. Right now it’s toning and losing a lot of weight. This will ultimately help with the next goal to improve my running. One step will ultimately lead to the next. Great advice Laura!
    Kris Walter @ krisonfitness recently posted..Happy New Year 2017My Profile

  13. I agree– focusing on one thing at a time is the best approach overall! And I think that stacking your goals depending on overall priorities or goal races can help too! For instance, if you have a fall marathon, let’s target a “get faster” approach early in the season, and then build the endurance when we need it for the race. Right now I’m working on strength and thinking about when I’m going to start to focus on speed!

  14. This is a great reminder that you can only achieve great results if you really turn your focus on one goal at the time. I have to admit that this is very hard for me, as well. I love that you mention that weight loss during a marathon is quite hard to achieve. Most people who don’t run think I can eat whatever I want I just run it off – that’s so not the case.
    Ilka recently posted..Treasure Coast Marathon Training Log – Happy New Year!My Profile

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