Thursday, December 29, 2011

No Goals

“ A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” Lao Tzu

It’s easy to get swept up in the current. If your ear is bent and your eyes are open to what occurs this time of year it is a declaration en masse. People are mapping out 2012 with projected races, schedules, and training plans. To their family, friends, Tweeps, Daily Mile friends and others, making this declaration gives them a sense of accountability. Something to chart their course for the new year and something tangible that people can check in with them on as the year progresses.

Aside from the accountability, it provides people with a clear cut path with specific checkpoints in which to gauge their progress. Failure to meet those checkpoints at the predetermined times often means going off the paved path and scrambling through unfamiliar terrain. This deviation from the plan is only temporary with the hope that this shortcut will have you back on track towards the goals established. Sometimes taking the shortcut though can lead to anger, frustration, and injury because what if the goal then becomes unattainable due to not being able to get back on schedule? What if staying on unfamiliar terrain is a better course?

Normally, I go into each year with some clearly defined running goals. Run a 100 miler, re-qualify for Boston, run a 40 min 10k, etc. From there, I usually work backwards to give some shape to the goals within a framework. It’s easy when you are plugged into social media or around others when the declarations begin for you not to start thinking about goals as well. However, although there have been some ideas that have bubbled to the surface, there has been nothing that has taken flight for me. Nothing has gripped to me to say...this is what I really want to do. Maybe my running goal for 2012 is to have no goals?

No goals mean no schedules and no checkpoints. I am not committing to any races or schedules for 2012. I am free to venture off the road as I please and stay there as long as I like. If that means that I become engaged in an idea, a pursuit, or a challenge outside of running then that is what I will do. Running and I have been together for so long that it’s not going anywhere. However, I do believe that it is time to expand the circle a bit and welcome some new interests in.

3 comments:

Travis said...

As someone who has been running a lot longer than I have, a "goal-less" plan is probably a great thing to do. It is good to leave your options open to opportunities that present themselves.

For me, though, I have to have some sort of goal to keep me moving forward. Otherwise, I feel lost and get distracted by shiny things! Maybe some day I won't need this type of focus and I'll be able to stay on track without a central goal.

Johnnyk8Johnnyk8runner said...

I agree with you 100% As you know I have never run an official race. Never competed in an official sense but love the act of doing.

I have some personal goals but it's nothing serious. More like run 40 mpw and ride x mpw without injury or to do XXXX pushups in 1 hour.

I'm not into the trophy as it were but do really enjoy seeing others do well and achieve their goals. Many times I am asked to draw upon my experience as a runner, cyclist, weightlifter for help on how to achieve a goal. Be it a 300lb bench press, PR race or just how to stay motivated. That make me happy.

Additionally the lack of goals helps me in the sense that I do it all for enjoyment. It's a like a hobby that turns into a job. Once it's a job. It's just not as fun anymore.

Thanks for writing this Dirtdawg

Johnnyk8Johnnyk8runner said...

I agree with you 100% As you know I have never run an official race. Never competed in an official sense but love the act of doing.

I have some personal goals but it's nothing serious. More like run 40 mpw and ride x mpw without injury or to do XXXX pushups in 1 hour.

I'm not into the trophy as it were but do really enjoy seeing others do well and achieve their goals. Many times I am asked to draw upon my experience as a runner, cyclist, weightlifter for help on how to achieve a goal. Be it a 300lb bench press, PR race or just how to stay motivated. That make me happy.

Additionally the lack of goals helps me in the sense that I do it all for enjoyment. It's a like a hobby that turns into a job. Once it's a job. It's just not as fun anymore.

Thanks for writing this Dirtdawg