70. Good, better, great!

Running tip #70

Goal-setting is tricky.  I usually advise people not to have pass/fail goals but to give themselves a range of goals for success.  However, sometimes life is pass/fail … you either make it or you don’t.  There is a cut-off for top 7 on a cross-country team; Boston does have a qualifying time you have to hit;  only three people make the Olympic team, etc.  I don’t want to come across as Pollyanna when I offer my good, better, best speech:


but it is less stressful if you know there are options after the gun goes off.  Pre-race anxiety can be quelled by realizing, as my dad used to say, the world isn’t going to come to an end if you fail to reach that one, perfect goal.

Here’s what I say (in my head) when I set time and/or place goals for a race:

Conservative goal – “If I don’t run this time, I suck and should give up running forever.”

Moderate goal – “This is about where I am in my training. If I give an honest effort, I can expect this outcome.”

Radical goal – “If I’m having one of those perfect days, I know in my heart of hearts that I can run this.  And if it does happen to be one of those perfect days, I better not blow it because those days don’t come along very often.  I better run my guts out – run blind! – because I know I will remember this race forever.”

As you can see, I put a lot more thought into my radical goals.

Voltaire said, “Perfect is the enemy of good.”


True, but isn’t good also the enemy of great!?

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