Aug 2016 20

For the love of running

By: Dave Wheeler

So with the Rio 2016 Olympics almost over, we've smashed our targets of securing medals across the range of sports. The CEO of UK Sports had said that although the official target was at least 48 medals, the real desire was to reach 66 - one more than London, 4 years ago. 

In the end, it seems that that's what we've ended up with - 66 medals, achieving 2nd place in the world rankings, behind only the USA. 

It's not just the elite athletes who set goals for themselves, it's pretty much common across the amateur sporting world too.

If you're in a team sport, you might set a team goal of winning by a set number of points, or goals (or just winning!).

If you're a swimmer or a runner you might set yourself a goal of a certain distance / time combo.

Here are some goals that different clients of mine currently have:

  • The swimmer who does a mile 3 times a week
  • The runner who's training to run 5k weekly
  • The runner who aims to run 150 miles a week
  • The office worker who aims to walk 1000 steps each day
  • The weight-lifter who trains 'til he pukes (yep, that's a real one... he figures he hasn't trained hard enough if hasn't thrown up)

It's completely obvious, isn't it, that we need goals to motivate us to achieve more, run further, swim for longer, jump higher,  lift more?

There are Fitbit's, Garmin's, Apple Watches and a host of apps for our phones to help us track our performance and aim higher.

Goals, and the technology to help us achieve them are ubiquitous, 

And yet last week, a close friend of mine ditched his Garmin, came off Strava, left his iPhone behind and went out running.

He's rediscovered his love of running.

He's not looking at his watch any more, he's not worrying about whether he's faster or slower than yesterday. He's just running for the sake of running.

And the funny thing is going further, faster than he did before.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not decrying targets or goals. They're invaluable for motivating your performance. But sometimes it's good to reconnect with why you play your sport or do the exercise that you've  chosen to do. 

Sometimes it can be good to escape the tyranny of goals and just do something because you love it.