I saw this really cool training journal on Autumn’s blog and straight away wanted one.IMG_2598

The “Believe Training Journal” by Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas

I record all my training (running, strength training, cross-training) in an Excel file on my computer. For runs I record how many miles I did and how it felt (was it a tough run, did I do hills/tempo/easy/etc., did I feel a niggle bugging me?) and for my strength training I record what I did, how many reps, sets and the weights. It’s a great way to record progress, plan for the weeks ahead, see what went right or wrong and monitor any niggles.


I didn’t really ‘need’ a training journal. But there was something about it’s solidity and the physical act of writing and recording things that really appealed to me. So much of what I do is on the computer and typed. I miss writing.

So I bought a copy (from Wordery for under £10 – not an affiliated link).


It’s a year-long training log with added practical advice and motivation peppered throughout to help you reach your goal, whatever that might be. You can write what you’ve done each week and track your training and keep you inline with your goal. It’s a great way to monitor what you’re doing and to stay focused.

I was really excited. I flicked through those pristine pages and couldn’t wait to get started. Ahh the smell of a fresh, blank page.

First things first: what was my goal?

Hmmm. I was stumped. Genuinely stumped. I went through different typical goals in my mind but nothing appealed. I could aim for a better 10k time.

Lordshill 10k PB

Let’s be completely honest here and say it is highly unlikely I’ll ever get a sub-40 10k time (a very commendable and sought after achievement). So what about a sub-42 minute or even 41? Maybe that’s achievable with the right kind of training. But I’m not interested. It just involves too much pain for what I see as too little gain. I’m actually really content with my current 10k time and feel like that’s a good achievement for me.

A sub-20 5k then? I was so close a few weeks ago. Those seven seconds!

Netley Abbey parkrun PB

But again, I’m not that bothered. Like I’ve said previously, it’d be so cool to be part of the “sub-20 club” but if it means I have to focus really hard on speed and short sprints…it just doesn’t appeal. And if I got a sub-20, then what? I’m pretty certain my body won’t do much faster.

OK then. As you know, I love marathons. Clearly trying to beat my recent PB would be a great thing to aim for, right?

Finishing time

Surprisingly no. When I think about my next road marathon (potential impending trail ones aside) I keep asking myself what I want to achieve. The first thing is: to enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed my past three marathons. I can put my hand on my heart and say I loved those marathons. I have yet to have a nasty or painful marathon experience – I know I’m very lucky and I’m very grateful for that. I truly loved them. That to me is one of the absolute most important things. The second and equally important thing: to not get injured. That old chestnut!

But what time do I want? I honestly don’t know. A lot of my club are running the Bournemouth marathon and it might be nice to just chill out and run with different people and just go with the flow for once. I suppose if I’m entirely honest I’d like another sub-4 hour marathon – but other than that I don’t really mind as long as the first two things apply. In my mind I’ve already got what I really wanted: a successful completion of a marathon (three now), the successful full training of a marathon without major issues, a London Good For Age and a Boston Qualifier [side note: I have every intention of applying for Boston when the application process starts sometime in the autumn].

But it frustrated me that I didn’t have a current goal. I know you don’t really need a goal. Run happy! Run strong! Run healthy! Yes, yes, yes. But I want to have a focus.

I spoke to my dad about it (he always has great advice about running, despite not being a runner). And as usual he had the answers that my tiny brain obviously didn’t. He said if time didn’t matter to me what about the sheer quantity of marathons? How about trying to run as many marathons as I sensibly and healthily could. OK this isn’t a six month goal or even a year goal. It’s a long-term, potentially life-time, goal. I suppose this really is no surprise to anyone. I love marathons (OK I know I’m repeating myself now) and want to do as many as my body will let me. I stress this last point as I know marathons are to be respected. It doesn’t matter how many you do, 26.2 miles is still a bloody long way (the same way that trying to beat a 5k time is still bloody painful). And we all know how injury-prone I am!

Yet to have that as a goal in the back of my mind…it sparked me up. Cheddar Gorge, Bournemouth, London…those are the ones pencilled in for the moment. Again, I stress pencilled as I am only too aware that my marathon-running dreams could easily crumble around me if I’m not sensible with my training. Which is why it’s fairly handy that I have this little book to keep me in check…

Maybe one day I’ll focus on a super fast 5k or 10k time, maybe one day I’ll train for a half marathon itself, rather than have it as part of my marathon training…but not yet.

Do you like to have a goal?

What are your goals?

Do you track and record your training?

14 Replies to “Goals”

  1. I have that training journal and I love it. Although I do need to get it back out… I’ve neglected it as I have barely been training whilst concentrating on physio. Good thing about it being undated is that I can just pick it up and start again!
    Liz recently posted…It’s all just an act!My Profile

  2. Great post, we are so similar! My goal for a while has been to do 10 marathons (which will be Bournemouth in October). Like you I have never specifically trained for half marathon, 10k, 10miles, 5k etc…….my legs are generally too tired from running a long run the week before to be properly tapered and prepared for them. If I get PBs at those distances within a marathon training cycle its a big bonus. Short distances are more like really hard training runs rather than goal races.
    I think its great within a goal of a certain number of marathons to try different types of marathons to keep it interesting, whether it is to do a combination of a big city race, a quiet country race, race in another country, trail, pacing someone etc.
    I love that journal, think I’m going to have to get one!

  3. I like the idea of numbers- one of my friends is doing 50 half marathons- in no time limit, but I quite like the idea of something like that. At the moment my goal is 50 parkruns- I have now done 45 (although 46- because at my first tail run I didn’t get a token…)- so that will happen for me in the autumn at some point.
    I quite like the sound of parkrun tourism too- seeing how many you could visit in the UK (or abroad- more are popping up all the time).
    I tried for ages to get a sub 60 min 10k, and finally managed that. I suppose a 25 min 5k should be achievable, but I really would like a half marathon in under 2 hours- I was only 6 minutes off or something at Brighton last year, so I should be capable- that might be a goal for 2016 as I have no half marathons booked at the moment.
    I keep my training on Strava now- I did do weekly recaps on my blog for a bit, but got out of the habit.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Ginger orange tightsMy Profile

  4. The training book is a neat idea! Right now I don’t have any specific goals that I’m working on. I recently cut out strength training and I’m working on bumping up my walking, so maybe I should aim for a certain amount of miles walked. We live near a massive trail system and it would be cool to walk the whole thing (in pieces). Hmmm, now you have me brainstorming lol.
    Sara recently posted…What I Ate Wednesday #2My Profile

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